NFL Rejects Vegas Police Union’s Call to Investigate Michael Bennett

Seattle Seahawks defensive end alleges Vegas cops used excessive force on him last month.

NFL Throws Support Behind Seahawks' Michael Bennett
Quarterback Colin Kaepernick #7 of the San Francisco 49ers speaks with defensive end Michael Bennett #72 of the Seattle Seahawks after the game at CenturyLink Field on September 25, 2016 in Seattle,Washington. The Seahawks won the game 37-18. (Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

It’s only been 48 hours since Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett tweeted about an encounter he had with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department late last month, where he alleged that they pointed a gun at his head and threatened. But a lot has happened since then.

On Sept. 6, the Vegas police department held a press conference, where it showed one officer’s body camera footage of the mayhem following what was assumed to be an “active shooter” incident. However, it provided no body camera footage of the alleged excessive force and rough arrest of Bennett. (A reporter can be heard asking why, if everyone was running from the area, Bennett was singled out—a non-answer was given.)

Nine minutes after the Vegas police department posted their tweet, National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell tweeted his support for Bennett, calling him “the best of the NFL” and promising that the NFL would “support Michael and all NFL players in promoting mutual respect between law enforcement and the communities they loyally serve and fair and equal treatment under the law.”

It’s unclear whether Goodell’s show of support extends to players like Colin Kaepernick, who have been protesting incidents of police brutality and racial profiling via silent kneeling during the playing of the national anthem, or what that “[promotion] of mutual respect” might look like in the wake of the Bennett incident.

Then yesterday, the Las Vegas police union sent a letter to the NFL, asking the league to investigate Bennett for his “obvious false allegations against our officers.”

In the latest development of this saga, the NFL rejected the police union’s call for an investigation into Bennett, per ESPN. A spokesman for the NFL said: “There is no allegation of a violation of the league’s personal conduct policy and therefore there is no basis for an NFL investigation.” Additionally, NFL Players Association’s executive director DeMaurice Smith said earlier that “There are no grounds for the NFL to investigate our union rep, and I look forward to Roger confirming the same.”

On Sept. 6, Bennett made his own public statement, where he reiterated the alleged injustice, the feeling that he’d been racially profiled, and the fact that he felt his life was in danger during the encounter. “It sucks that the country that we live in now, sometimes, you get profiled for the color of your skin,” said Bennett. “It’s a tough situation for me. Do I think every police officer is bad? No, I don’t believe that. Do I believe there are some people out there that judge people on the color of their skin? I do believe that.”

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