Subject: Police: 'No evidence' of excessive force in Michael Bennett incident
Police said Friday they found "no evidence" that officers used
excessive force in detaining Seattle Seahawks defensive end
Michael Bennett during an August incident in Las Vegas and that
they had reasonable suspicion to make the stop.
Bennett has accused police officers of racial profiling, saying
they pointed guns at him and used excessive force in the
incident, which occurred outside a nightclub after the Floyd
Mayweather Jr.-Conor McGregor fight on Aug. 26.
The body camera of the officer who initially detained Bennett
was not turned on. Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo said Friday
that police sorted through 861 videos, including from body
cameras from other officers and hotel security cameras, and
found that 193 were pertinent to the investigation. From there,
they said they pieced together a timeline of the incident and
played video for the media at a news conference. They said
Bennett's detainment lasted about 10 minutes, seven of which
were spent in a police car.
The video shown by police showed an officer with his weapon
drawn over Bennett on the sidewalk. Police said Bennett was
handcuffed, moved to a police vehicle and spoken to by another
officer, who told Bennett that police were looking for an active
shooter. After an exchange with police that lasted a few
minutes, police took the handcuffs off Bennett and he was told
he could leave. Bennett shook one of the officers' hands and
Lombardo said the internal investigation showed that the
officers behaved "appropriately and professionally" and that
"the incident was not about race." He said two other individuals
were also detained in a similar manner, one black and one
Bennett told reporters earlier this month that the incident was
"a traumatic experience for me and my family" and he was
considering filing a civil rights lawsuit.
Bennett first gave his side of the incident on Twitter on Sept
6. He said that officers pointed guns at him "for doing nothing
more than simply being a black man in the wrong place at the
wrong time" and ordered him to lie down on the ground.
Bennett wrote that one officer, with his gun drawn, warned him
that he would "blow my f---ing head off" if he moved. Another
officer jammed his knee into Bennett's back and handcuffed him,
according to Bennett.
"The Officers' excessive use of force was unbearable," Bennett
wrote. "I felt helpless as I lay there on the ground handcuffed
facing the real-life threat of being killed. All I 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.'"
Bennett wrote that he was placed in a police car before officers
confirmed his identity, realized he was not a suspect and
released him "without any legitimate justification for the
Officers' abusive conduct."
"They apparently realized I was not a thug, common criminal or
ordinary black man but Michael Bennett a famous professional
football player," he wrote.
The video police shown on Friday showed Bennett identifying
himself as a Seahawks player after police allowed him to get out
of the police car and told him he was not under arrest.
Bennett's attorney, John Burris in Oakland, California, said he
wants to review videos more closely. But he said he believed the
clips shown verified Bennett's accounts.
"He was not acting improperly,'' Burris told The Associated
Press. "He was not acting suspicious. He was not involved in any
"There's nothing to go on, no description, other than you see
this big black man running,'' the attorney added. "He was
running like everyone else, trying to get away.''
Lombardo said the intent of Friday's news conference was not to
"disparage" Bennett, acknowledging there are "two sides to every
"Mr. Bennett has a valid perspective as a person who experienced
a reasonable suspicion stop for a felony crime," he said. "Those
who experience such a stop, especially when they have not
committed a crime, are not likely to feel good about it. But
there is a reason why officers are trained to do what they do
and what they did that night."
The officer who chased Bennett and handcuffed him didn't have
his body camera on at the time, Lombardo said, and might face
Otherwise, "I believe they acted appropriately and
professionally,'' the sheriff said of the officers.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.