MIAMI GARDENS, FL - FEBRUARY 02: Will Smith #91 of the New Orleans Saints speaks to members of the media during Super Bowl XLIV Media Day at Sun Life Stadium on February 2, 2010 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Photo: Scott Halleran
Photo: Scott Halleran

Will Smith dined with cop accused of killing Cardell Hayes' father

The suspect in Saturday's fatal shooting of former New Orleans Saints defensive end Will Smith previously filed a lawsuit against the city after officers killed his father, according to local reports.

One of the officers named in the lawsuit told The Advocate he met with Smith for dinner shortly before the shooting.

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Cardell Hayes' father, Anthony Hayes, was shot and killed by New Orleans police officers in 2005 after he got into an argument with an employee at a local pharmacy while armed with a pocket knife, according to The Advocate. The shooting took place just blocks from the area where Cardell Hayes, 28, allegedly shot Smith to death Saturday.

Cardell Hayes sued the city, saying officers should have used non-lethal force to incapacitate his father, who was described by The Advocate as mentally unstable.

The case was settled for an undisclosed amount in 2011.

In his lawsuit, Cardell Hayes named former New Orleans police Capt. Billy Ceravolo as one of the officers who fatally shot his father. Cervolo told The Advocate he met with Smith and former Saints running back Pierre Thomas for dinner in the Lower Garden District shortly before the argument and subsequent shooting that claimed Smith's life.

"Ceravolo, who called Smith and Thomas personal friends, said he was not at the scene of the shooting and was not aware that Hayes had named him in his federal lawsuit," The Advocate reported.

Cardell Hayes was once considered among Louisiana's top prep football players. In 2004, listed him as one of the top 50 players in the state for the class of 2005. He played for Warren Easton High School.

“As recently as 2015, it appears he was still playing football for the Crescent City Kings, a local developmental team,” the Times-Picayune reported.

Cardell Hayes was charged with second-degree murder Sunday morning after police said he fired multiple, fatal shots at Smith after he rear-ended Smith's SUV in the Lower Garden District late Saturday.

Smith's wife, who was in the vehicle with him, suffered two gunshot wounds to her leg. Authorities pronounced Smith dead at the scene.

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