Las Vegas, NV – NFL star Michael Bennett released a statement earlier this month claiming that he was the victim of racial profiling by Las Vegas Metro PD, and the department responded with bodycam video and information which made it clear that Bennett was spreading false information about much of what had happened.
Now the department has reviewed over 800 videos from cameras in the area and released their findings.
Based on the findings, we can see, without a doubt, that Michael Bennett’s statements weren’t accurate.
Before we get too far into the details about the new video, below is Bennett’s statement. The information contested by the police department investigation is in bold.
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.
Bennett’s claims that he was singled out for being a black man. Video shows that at the time of his detention, he was surrounded by other black men who were not singled out.
Bennett’s behavior of crouching, and appearing to hide from officers, before sprinting outside and jumping into traffic, are what caused him to be singled out. After his detention, Bennett could be seen on body camera stating that the police told everybody not to run, and Bennett ran anyway.
Officers had their guns out when Bennett was detained, but Las Vegas Metro has been unable to find any evidence to support Bennett’s claim that an officer threatened to blow his “fucking head off.” However, officers did use profanity when they issued orders to Bennett.
No second officer jammed their knee into Bennett’s back or obstructed his ability to breathe.
Officers did not use excessive force. After he was detained, Bennett did complain that the handcuffs were too tight and an officer, on video, re-checked the tightness of his handcuffs.
The officers specifically told Bennett that he was not under arrest, and he was detained for only about 10 minutes.
Bennett was released as soon as officers determined that there was likely no shooter, and was being released before he was identified.
Just before his release, a supervisor, on video, explained to Bennett the reason that he had been detained, and also explained that he was never under arrest.
There can now be little doubt that Bennett was either lying, or under the influence of a substance which made him incapable of properly perceiving and recalling what was going on around him.
Many people are clinging to the fact that one officer’s body camera was not on during the incident, and suggesting that somehow proves any of Bennett’s claims.
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 Hispanic 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.
You can see the full video from the press conference below: