NFL: 'No basis' for investigation of Seahawks' Michael Bennett
The NFL will not investigate Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett after Bennett accused Las Vegas police of racial profiling and using excessive force earlier in the week.
"There is no allegation of a violation of the league's personal conduct policy and therefore there is no basis for an NFL investigation," league spokesman Brian McCarthy wrote in an email to the Las Vegas Review-Journal Thursday.
Earlier in the day, Steve Grammas, the president of the Las Vegas Metro Police Protective Association, issued a statement calling for NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to investigate and punish Bennett after Bennett made what Grammas called "obvious false allegations against our officers."
Las Vegas police opened up an internal investigation after a Wednesday Twitter post in which Bennett accused an officer of pointing a gun at Bennett's head and threatening to kill him following what turned out to be false reports of an active shooter inside The Cromwell casino early on the morning of Aug. 27.
Grammas repeated Las Vegas police claims that Bennett's actions during the incident — taking cover behind a gaming machine before running out of the building — constituted "reasonable suspicion" to detain him.
"As our uniformed officered entered the casino, they observed Bennett hiding behind a slot machine," Grammas wrote. "When officers turned towards Bennett, he bolted out of the casino, leaped over a four-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," Grammas continued. "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."
The letter did not address a key component of Bennett's claim, that an officer leveled a gun at his head and threatened to "blow my (expletive) head off" if he moved. In a Wednesday press conference, Las Vegas police Undersherriff Kevin McMahill said the department was reviewing 126 pieces of video evidence from the scene.
The evidence did not include potentially conclusive bodycam footage from the officer who detained Bennett, McMahill said, because the officer involved did not activate his camera. Five minutes of bodycam footage released by the LVPD on Wednesday did not show the officer's actions once Bennett was on the ground, though a video obtained by TMZ Sports showed Bennett telling officers he'd done nothing wrong and that he'd been told by police to leave the building.
Grammas' letter, however, did address Bennett's national anthem protest.
"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," he wrote.
Goodell issued a statement supporting Bennett on Wednesday, saying Bennett "represents the best of the NFL -- a leader on his team and in his community."
"The issues Michael has been raising deserve serious attention from all of our leaders in every community," Goodell said in the statement. "We will 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."
NFLPA President DeMaurice Smith issued a statement of support for Bennett, one of Seattle's player representatives, Thursday afternoon:
"I applaud Roger joining me in issuing a statement of support for Michael Bennett, but there are no grounds for the NFL to investigate our union rep and I look forward to Roger confirming the same."
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