The NFL sent out a short statement saying it found no such investigation necessary
Sep 8, 2017
By Bob Condotta
The Seattle Times
LAS VEGAS — In response to claims Seahawks
defensive lineman Michael Bennett made Wednesday alleging that Las Vegas
police singled him out for being black and using excessive force, the
police’s union on Thursday wrote a letter to NFL commissioner Roger
Goodell asking for an investigation of Bennett.
Later in the day, though, the NFL sent out a short and forceful statement saying it found no such investigation necessary.
“There is no allegation of a violation of the league’s personal
conduct policy and therefore there is no basis for an NFL
investigation,” the NFL statement read.
The letter from the Las
Vegas Police Protective Association Metro, Inc., claimed that Bennett
made “false and defamatory” comments about the Las Vegas Metropolitan
Police Department and asked Goodell to “conduct an investigation, and
take appropriate action, into Michael Bennett’s obvious false
allegations against our officers.”
The letter, reported by 8 News
Now in Las Vegas, also notes that Bennett has been sitting for the
anthem and states “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 officers.”
Burris, an Oakland attorney who is representing Bennett on matters
related to this incident, said in a phone interview with the Seattle
Times that he didn’t put much stock in the impact of letter because “I
don’t give a lot of credibility to unions because they always support
the police no matter what.”
But Burris said “to impugn the integrity of Mr. Bennett is just outrageous.”
said for the police to admit that they have not completed an
investigation of the incident but for the union to conclude that Bennett
is making “false and defamatory” statements is nonsensical.
“To suggest he is lying without having conducted an investigation is ridiculous,” Burris said.
on Wednesday detailed via Twitter an incident in which he was held on
the ground with a gun pointed at his head while the Las Vegas police
investigated if he was a suspect in a reported active shooter at Drai’s
Nightclub at Cromwell Casino on Aug. 27 — Bennett was in Las Vegas to
attend the Conor McGregor-Floyd Mayweather fight. Bennett was later
released after he said police realized who he was, and no shooting was
found to have occurred with police unclear what the sound was that led
to the call.
The union’s letter, authored by Detective Steve
Grammas, claims police had “reasonable suspicion” to detain Bennett
while they determined if he was a suspect. It concludes that Bennett’s
claims that the officers, which the department has said are each
Hispanic, are racist is “false and offensive to the men and women of law
enforcement” and says the union is happy to meet with Goodell.
NFL on Wednesday released a statement about the incident, saying
Bennett “represents the best of the NFL” and that it will support
Bennett and other NFL players in “promoting mutual respect between law
enforcement and the communities they loyally serve.”
statement, Bennett said Wednesday he is considering filing a federal
civil-rights lawsuit and has asked for the LVMPD to release any body
camera footage of the incident. The LVPMD said Wednesday the officer
directly involved in the incident did not have his camera turned on.
Burris said a lawsuit “is imminent, just not today.”
also said that he has had communication with the Las Vegas Police
Department and that they have agreed to turn over videos.
“We expect that soon,” Burris said. “They indicated they will try to get them available to us soon.”
also took issue with a suggestion made by the Las Vegas Police
Department that they had not heard of Bennett’s issues with how his
situation was handled prior to Wednesday. Burris said his office made a
request for the videos on Aug. 29 and did so again on Wednesday prior to
a press conference conducted by undersheriff Kevin McMahill.
also countered a statement McMahill made saying the department wants to
talk to Bennett saying Bennett’s statement released via social media
“creates enough of a basis for an investigation.”
While talking to media in Seattle on Wednesday, Bennett said he wasn’t attacking police as a whole.
I think every police officer is bad? No, I don’t believe that,” he
said. “Do I believe that there are some people out there that judge
people by the color of their skin? I do believe that and I’m just
focused on trying to push forward and keep continuously championing the
quest for justice for people, keeping pushing equality for oppressed
people and that’s what I am about and going to keep doing.”
Bennett’s teammates, meanwhile, continued to publicly support him on Thursday, including quarterback Russell Wilson.
see him on the ground like that, there’s not much more words to say
then, it’s terrifying and it’s unacceptable based on the situation,”
Wilson said. “Michael is a good guy. He is a guy that is trying to stand
up for something good, trying to stand up for love and bringing people
together, not hate. If you know Michael Bennett, he is a person who
loves all people and is a person who wants to make the world a better
place and he is addressing an issue that is right in the heart of the
matter of what we are going through. To see him on the ground like that
and to be a person who is standing up for something, but also be on the
ground like that too, it’s terrifying. It’s devastating to even think