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Las Vegas police union calls on NFL to investigate and punish Michael Bennett
A day after Seattle Seahawks star Michael Bennett accused the Las Vegas Police Department of racially profiling him and putting a gun to his head during a recent incident, the police union is targeting the defensive end.
On Thursday, the president of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Protective Association wrote a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell requesting the league conduct an investigation and “take appropriate action” against Bennett after he accused the police of racially profiling him.
“Michael Bennett’s claim that our officers are racist is false and offensive to the men and women of law enforcement,” wrote Detective Steve Grammas. “We hope you will take appropriate action against Michael Bennett.”
— Vanessa_Murphy (@Vanessa_Murphy) September 7, 2017
Bennett, in a Twitter message released Wednesday, said Las Vegas police, who were investigating an apparent casino shooting, targeted him in a crowd of people running from the scene, pinned him to the ground, put a gun near his head, and said they would “blow [his] fucking head off” if he moved.
“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,” wrote Bennett, one of the players poised to take over the NFL’s social justice baton from Colin Kaepernick.
— Michael Bennett (@mosesbread72) September 6, 2017
Later on Monday, Bennett spoke during a press conference about the traumatic experience he and his family had suffered. “It’s a tough situation,” Bennett said.
Michael Bennett addresses Seahawks media, walks off after getting emotional talking about his daughters. pic.twitter.com/sY1V0Ih9ZA
— Jordan Heck (@JordanHeckFF) September 6, 2017
Here’s the video released by TMZ—which also reported that Bennett did not comply with officers when they told everybody in the area to get on the ground so they could investigate—that shows Bennett being arrested.
Grammas wants an investigation of Bennett, but based on this statement by Goodell released on Wednesday, it sounds like the league is standing behind Bennett.
“Michael Bennett represents the best of the NFL—a leader on his team and in his community,” Goodell said. “Our foremost concern is the welfare of Michael and his family. While we understand the Las Vegas police department will address this later this evening, the issues Michael has been raising deserve serious attention from all of our leaders in every community. 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.”
Bennett has not yet publicly responded to Grammas’ letter.
Josh Katzowitz is a staff writer at the Daily Dot specializing in YouTube and boxing. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times. A longtime sports writer, he's covered the NFL for CBSSports.com and boxing for Forbes. His work has been noted twice in the Best American Sports Writing book series.