The Las Vegas Metro Police union is asking the National Football League to investigate Michael Bennett and consider punishing the all-pro defensive end.
In a letter to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, union president Det. Steve Grammas called Bennett’s accusations that he was profiled, threatened, and abused by Las Vegas officers last month “false and offensive.”
Grammas said the union believes the investigation will conclude officers acted correctly, and that Bennett was not singled out based on his race.
Bennett, an outspoken star for the Seattle Seahawks, claims officers forced him to the ground at gunpoint, threatened to blow off his head, and held him painfully, despite having no reason to suspect Bennett of a crime. It came during a chaotic situation inside the Cromwell Casino in the early hours of August 27th, following reports of an active shooter at the property.
Bennett claims police sought him out solely because he was an African American in the wrong place. He posted the following letter on Twitter.
But Clark County Undersheriff Kevin McMahill painted a very different story. McMahill said as teams swept the casino floor, they encountered Bennett crouched behind a slot machine, and that Bennett ran as police approached him. He also said that the Las Vegas Metro Police Department had just heard of Bennett’s claims when he posted it on Twitter Wednesday.
“Like the rest of you, the LVMPD learned of Mr. Bennett’s allegations just this morning, and an internal investigation has been opened,” said McMahill.
“When the officer said they had not received it, that was shocking to us,” said John Burris, attorney of Michael Bennett.
Burris told the 8 News NOW I-Team that he had contacted Metro last week about the incident. He said he contacted them by email and FedEx in an effort to collect any video evidence.
McMahill says investigators are reviewing more than 120 videos of the incident, but the officer that first encountered Bennett on Las Vegas Boulevard was the only officers who did not activated his body camera.
Metro has launched an internal investigation and promised that officers will be punished if they violated Bennett’s civil rights.
In his letter to the NFL, Grammas did not mention specific penalties he believes Bennett should face, but that the NFL should take “appropriate action.” Grammas noted the NFL has allowed Bennett to sit during the playing of the national anthem before games but wrote he hopes “the league will not ignore Bennet’s false accusations against our police officers.”
“They enforce the conduct policy for Ray Rice for domestic violence, and things like that,” Grammas said. “Here’s another example. I believe that this story was pretty much fabricated as far as what my officers did, the force that was used and how he was treated to the point that I think his apology plus an investigation by the league is warranted.
However, the NFL says there is no basis for an NFL investigation because there wasn’t a violation of conduct.
According to Bennett’s attorney, the police union is trying to demonize the NFL player.
“What we have here is a misdirection, disinformation campaign directing attention away from the incident itself in trying to demonize Michael Bennett by suggesting that he was a liar,” Burris said.
According to a Metro police department spokesman though, both officers who Bennett has made allegations about are still working and on active duty, the department is looking into why the officer’s body camera was not recording and if he was not following policy.
The I-Team also learned that Metro is investigating whether Bennett had been in a fight at the Cromwell prior to him being detained. Burris says he has no knowledge or evidence of a fight.