Las Vegas Police Union Asks For Investigation And Action Against Michael Bennett
After NFL star Michael Bennett released a statement on Wednesday claiming that he was the victim of racial profiling by Las Vegas Metro PD, the department responded with bodycam video and information which made it clear that Bennett was fabricating much of what had happened.
Now the Las Vegas Police Protective Association Metro, has sent a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell asking for an investigation and “appropriate action” to be taken against Bennett.
You can see the letter below:
“Dear Commissioner Goodel:
On behalf of the rank and file members of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, I request that you conduct an investigation, and take appropriate action, into Michael Bennett’s obvious false allegations against our officers.
While the NFL may condone Bennett’s disrespect for our American Flag, and everything it symbolizes, we hope the League will not ignore Bennett’s false accusations against our police officers.
As you may know, Michael Bennett posted a Twitter message regarding his interaction with our officers.
Bennett wrote, “Las Vegas police officers singled me out and pointed their guns at me for doing nothing more than simply being a black man in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Bennett’s message included additional comments, which we believe are false and defamatory.
We believe that a fair investigation will establish that our officers responded to one of the most dangerous calls a law enforcement officer can be assigned- an active shooter firing rounds in a crowded casino.
As our uniformed officers entered the casino, they observed Bennett hiding behind a slot machine. When officers turned towards Bennett, he bolted out of the casino, leaped over four (4) foot barrier wall, and hid from officers as he crouched close to the wall on the sidewalk.
I am sure that your attorney will tell you, our officers had reasonable suspicion, which is the constitutional standard, to detain Bennett until they could determine whether he was involved in the shooting.
Our officers, who are both minorities, had the legal right, and obligation, to detain Bennett based upon the nature of the call and Bennett’s unusual and suspicious actions. Our officers did not detain Bennett because he was, “a black man in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Michael Bennett’s claim that our officers are racists is false and offensive to the men and women of law enforcement. We hope you will take appropriate action against Michael Bennett. I am available to meet with you and will provide any other information you deem necessary.
Very truly yours,
LAS VEGAS METRQ POLICE PROTECTIVE ASSOCIATION
– DETECTIVE STEVE GRAMMAS
It’s not clear why Michael Bennett lied about the situation. His only public response appears to have been tweeting photos to back up his claim that one of the officers pointed a gun at his head after he jumped into traffic.
The claim about the officer pointing his gun was not confirmed or contested by Metro.
What was made clear was that Bennett was not racially profiled, and the circumstances were explained to him after he was detained for only 10 minutes.
It possible, but appears unlikely from currently released video, that a second officer jammed their knee in his back. It is possible that an officer pointed their gun at his head and threatened to “blow his head off,” which wouldn’t be abnormal for an active shooter suspect; an investigation will verify or contradict these claims.
It appears that Bennett is going to deflect from his obvious lies to other irrelevant issues.
One issue being brought up is that the primary arresting officer did not have his body camera on.
To suggest that the body camera not being on somehow implies evidence of Bennett’s claims means that you would have to assume that the officer made a conscious decision to leave his body camera off while going to an active shooter call, explicitly for the reason that he wanted to racially profile somebody. It’s a claim that defies all reason.
Officers often forget to put their car in park when arriving at a hot call, and occasionally forgetting to turn on a body camera is expected. Forgetting to turn on a body camera is not de facto evidence of wrongdoing and not relevant to the claims made.
Over 120 cameras captured the incident (it’s Las Vegas) and are being reviewed.
Inexplicably, many sports media outlets that ran the claim about Bennett being profiled are completely ignoring the information released by Metro.
You can see the original Blue Lives Matter story with video below:
On Wednesday, NFL player Michael Bennett released a statement in which he accused Last Vegas Metro officers of pointing their guns at him for “doing nothing more than simply being a black man in the wrong place at the wrong time.” (video below)
Later on Wednesday, Las Vegas Metro responded to his allegations with what actually happened.
Before we get into the details, here is a statement released by Michael Bennett on Wednesday:
On Saturday, August 26, 2017 was in Las Vegas to attend the Mayweather-McGregor fight on my day off. After the fight while heading back to my hotel several hundred people heard what sounded like gunshots.
Like many of the people in the area ran away from the sound, looking for safety. Las Vegas police officers singled me out and pointed their guns at me for doing nothing more than simply being a black man in the wrong place at the wrong time.
A police officer ordered me to get on the ground. As laid on the ground, complying with his commands to not move, he placed his gun near my head and warned me that if moved he would “blow my fucking head off.”
Terrified and confused by what was taking place, a second Officer came over and forcefully jammed his knee into my back making it difficult for me to breathe. They then cinched the handcuffs on my wrists so tight that my fingers went numb.
The Officers’ excessive use of force was unbearable. I felt helpless as lay there on the ground handcuffed facing the real-life threat of being killed. All could think of was “I’m going to die for no other reason than I am black and my skin color is somehow a threat.’
My life flashed before my eyes as thought of my girls. Would ever play with them again? Or watch them have kids? Or be able to kiss my wife again and tell her love her?
I kept asking the Officers “What did I do?” and reminding them that I had rights they were duty bound to respect.
The Officers ignored my pleas and instead told me to shut up and then took me to the back of a nearby police car where sat for what felt like an eternity until they apparently realized was not a thug, common criminal or ordinary black man but Michael Bennett a famous professional football player.
After confirming my identity, I was ultimately released without any legitimate justification for the Officers’ abusive conduct.
I have always held a strong conviction that protesting or standing up for justice is just simply, the right thing to do.
This fact is unequivocally, without question why before every game, sit during the national anthem–because equality doesn’t live in this country and no matter how much money you make, what job title you have, or how much you give, when you are seen as a “Nigger,” you will be treated that way.
The system failed me. I can only imagine what Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, and Charleena Lyles felt.
I have retained Oakland Civil Rights Attorney John Burris to investigate and explore all my legal options including filing a civil rights lawsuit for the violation of my constitutional rights.
Undersheriff Kevin McMahill responded later in the day to Bennett’s accusations, and made it clear that Bennett’s version of events are not accurate.
At the press conference, Undersheriff McMahill explained that on August 26 at around 1:30 AM, officers were responding to multiple reports of an active shooter.
The undersheriff played body camera video, and you can see a group of officers rushing together towards where the gunfire was reported. The officers cleared the casino floor, helping to evacuate people of all skin colors, including other black males.
After the officers cleared the casino floor, they were going towards a nightclub where they believed the shooter may be. On their way, officers saw Bennett crouched behind a gaming machine, and he took off running after officers spotted him.
Two Hispanic officers pursued as Bennett jumped over a barrier into the middle of traffic. One of the officers was able to cuff him and he was detained for 10 minutes while the officers determined that he was not involved.
A supervisor responded and explained to Bennett why he was detained, and he told the supervisors that he understood and had no issues with what had happened besides having a gun pointed at his head.
The active shooter reports were later determined to be a false alarm from loud banging which people thought were gunshots.
To this day, Bennett has never filed a complaint.
Despite Bennett being in an area where there were many other black males, and his actions made it appear that he was fleeing from police at a reported active shooter scene, and he jumped into traffic to get away, he still chose to release a statement claiming that he was detained for no other reason than being black, rather than contacting anybody at Las Vegas Metro.
Las Vegas Metro PD has opened an internal affairs investigation, despite there being no formal complaint made, and they are investigating if Bennett’s claims about a gun being pointed at him or any of his other claims are accurate.
Do you think that Bennett is just trying to manufacture controversy with false claims that he knows people will believe without fact checking? We’d like to hear from you. Please let us know in the comments.
You can see video below of Bennett being cuffed in the roadway: