Cardell Hayes, the suspect in former Saints Pro Bowler Will Smith’s fatal shooting late Saturday, filed a high-profile lawsuit against the city of New Orleans after police officers killed his father in a December 2005 incident, his ex-attorney confirmed Sunday.
One of the defendants mentioned in that lawsuit had dined with Smith shortly before the former football pro was killed.
Hayes’ father, Anthony, was mentally unstable and had gotten into an argument with an employee at a St. Charles Avenue pharmacy while holding a pocket knife when officers first pepper-sprayed, then shot and killed him, officials said. Hayes, now 28, sued for damages, alleging that officers should have used non-lethal force — such as a stun gun — to subdue his father, but none of the cops had such a tool.
The litigation was settled in 2011 for an undisclosed amount of money that could be described as “large,” said attorney Ike Spears, who represented Hayes in that matter but is not involved in the Smith case.
One of the defendants named in the lawsuit Hayes filed against the city was Billy Ceravolo, who retired from the New Orleans Police Department as a captain in 2013 after 25 years on the force. The lawsuit accused Ceravolo of being among several officers to fatally shoot Anthony Hayes.
Officials claimed Anthony Hayes threatened Ceravolo with his knife after the officer repeatedly told him to put it down.
Ceravolo on Sunday said he was eating dinner with Smith and former Saints running back Pierre Thomas at a restaurant in the Lower Garden District shortly before authorities said Smith was rear-ended by Cardell Hayes, 28, on a nearby street.
Police allege that Hayes fatally shot Smith and wounded his wife, Racquel, during an argument that erupted after the collision.
Ceravolo, who called Smith and Thomas personal friends, said he was not at the scene of the shooting when it occurred and was not aware that Hayes had named him in his federal lawsuit.