BY SPNW Staff 01:06PM 09/07/2017

Police union wants NFL to go after Bennett

The NFL tersely rejected a demand by the union representing Las Vegas police to investigate Michael Bennett’s comments included a claim of racial profiling.

The NFL dismissed a request by the Las Vegas police union to investigate DE Michael Bennett’s statements about the police after his Aug. 27 detainment. / Seahawks.com

The Las Vegas Police Protective Association Metro, Inc., the union that represents the city’s police, released a letter to Roger Goodell Thursday that urges the NFL commissioner to conduct an investigation and take “appropriate action” against Seahawks DE Michael Bennett for making “obviously false and defamatory claims against our officers.”

Bennett issued a statement Wednesday in which he said Las Vegas police used excessive force, pointed a gun at his head and threatened to shoot him during an incident following the Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor fight Aug. 26, which Bennett attended.

Police detained Bennett while it investigated whether he was a suspect in a reported shooting. After police determined there had been no shooting and verified Bennett’s identity, Bennett was released. Bennett, who said he was singled out “for doing nothing more than simply being a black man in the wrong place at the wrong time,” also said he was considering filing a federal civil-rights lawsuit.

The union’s letter, written by union president Steve Grammas, stated that police had  “reasonable” grounds to detain Bennett until it determined he had done nothing wrong, and added that Bennett’s claim that the officers are racist is “false and offensive to the men and women of law enforcement.”

Las Vegas police undersheriff Kevin McMahill told reporters that his officers responded to a report of an active shooter situation at The Cromwell Las Vegas Hotel & Casino around 1:30 a.m. Aug. 27.  Bennett was detained, McMahill said, because Bennett was seen “crouched down behind a gaming machine” before Bennett ran and hopped a fence.

The letter also mentioned Bennett’s decision to sit during the national anthem and said, “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 officers.”

“I hope to have a discussion with Commissioner Goodell so we can have a conversation about these allegations that our officers are racist and racially profiled Mr. Bennett,” Grammas told USA Today. “We don’t like players from the National Football League making false allegations, which, I feel, is a violation of the NFL’s personal conduct policy.”

Later Wednesday, the NFL office released a shortly statement spurning the union request, saying it would not investigate because there was no violation of league policy.

“There is no allegation of a violation of the league’s personal conduct policy and therefore there is no basis for an NFL investigation,” the statement read.

 


YourThoughts

  • Matt Kite

    Doesn’t video of the incident show an officer pointing a gun at Bennett’s head? I know it’s the union’s job to speak up for its members, but this makes them look petty. And the potshot at Bennett’s ongoing political statement seems like the perfect non sequitur. Again, petty.

    • Steed

      They aren’t going to apologize for putting a gun to his head. You know how it goes by now. “Officer safety” is job 1 for the police. The office had to protect himself from the guy laying face down on the ground.

      There is a video of police shooting and killing a handcuffed man, and the officer got away with it, because he said he feared for his life.

      • art thiel

        Releasing him after they recognized their errors apparently counts as an apology.

    • art thiel

      Really a foolish mistake by the union to loop in Bennett’s protest choice as cover for their misbehavior.

  • Steed

    If they are anything like the police union in Seattle, they can kiss my grits. The NFL should ignore them. They can go to the courts if they think they were wronged.

    • art thiel

      The union made a hasty, knee-jerk reaction before any results of the department’s own investigation have been made public.

  • roger_lococco

    Bennett was detained, McMahill said, because Bennett was seen “crouched
    down behind a gaming machine” before Bennett ran and hopped a fence.

    Now we know the cops are lying. Bennett himself said he was apprehended because he was black and only because he was black.

    All those other black people in the area? They’re in on it, too.

    • art thiel

      Keep this is mind, Roger, when you’re fleeing what you and others believe to be gunshots: No crouching, no running.

    • I am going to go out on a limb here, Roger, you are white, pro-police no matter what and believe even when they act illegally a citizen must comply and if they get shot the citizen is at fault. Armed or unarmed.

      While Mr Bennett is a very large, powerful appearingl man, he was unarmed. NO ONE ELSE WAS DETAINED that I can find evidence of. There were many people running. Why was Mr Bennett singled out for detention? Hmmmmm. I think your white privilege is showing, Roger. You have no idea how cops think. I do. I was raised by one and spent part of my working career doing the same. He was detained based on skin color and size. Black people look guiltier to cops on general basis. Call it human nature, call it prejudice. We all suffer from it at some level. That does not excuse it.

      As a society we must confront this reemerging disease, which I thought we were on the way to, if not eradicating, at least making it less of an issue in everyday life. Since the rise of the current leadership in this country the incidences of racial violence and confrontation have grown exponentially. There is no excuse to justify this behavior.

      One last thing, Roger. Cops lie. They lie to protect themselves, to protect their brothers. Cops who don’t want to lie, remain silent. Same thing. This behavior needs to be addressed as well.

  • Kirkland

    Bob Condotta’s Twitter feed says the NFLPA doesn’t think Bennett committed a conduct violation. (Can’t get the Tweet link to copy, so go to @bcondotta)r.cohttps://twitter.com/bcondotta/status/905913002578272256https://twitter.com/bcondotta/status/905913002578272256m/bcondotta/status/905913002578272256

    • art thiel

      Yes, both the NFL and NFLPA issued statements saying nothing Bennett did or was alleged to have done violated the personal conduct policy of the CBA.

  • WestCoastBias79

    I’m not sure how well police unions are at negotiating salaries and benefits, but they truly excel at making their members look like boors.

    • art thiel

      Their bosses had a chance to make a public case with the video in the press conference, and failed. Now this. Still haven’t explained why hiding and running, inspired by what was said to be gunshots, is worthy of a death threat by a cop.

  • DAWG

    To Hedoublehockeysticks with ’em. Police respond like that they deserve contempt.

  • StephenBody

    I’m SORRY this is long but not sorry enough, I guess, not to post it:

    The Under-Sheriff of Las Vegas said yesterday that his investigators had found no evidence to suggest that racism played a part in the violent take-down and arrest of Michael Bennett for, basically, being black at the wrong moment. He went on to note than both of the arresting officers were Hispanic, intending to suggest, I guess, that they couldn’t possibly have been operating off racist presumptions because they’re minorities, too! There is nothing written down anywhere that suggests that Hispanics cannot be prejuduced against African-Americans. And, further, here’s something I know from my own first-hand experience: I don’t doubt that both those officers could pass any lie detector test ever devised in swearing, before God and Man, that thay are not racists. But the mere fact that, out of a crowd described as “several hundred” people, fleeing gunshots in a public place, the one these two cops zeroed in on was the huge, funny-looking black guy. And that crowd was fleeing gunshots **at the moment they happened**. There was no time for anyone in law enforcement to develop and disseminate a suspect description. So, these offices were operating purely off instinct. These non-racist cops saw the black guy and detained him…because, in their tiny, shell-shocked hindbrains, “large and black” = “suspicious”.

    His “suspicious activity”, as the officers put it, was running out into traffic and crouching behind a metal container, both actions which make perfect sense IF YOU’RE RUNNING AWAY FROM GODDAMNED BULLETS.

    I’m not doing this simple-minded shit of saying how tough police work is and how officers have to make split-second decisions. That’s all part of the job of being a law enforcement professional, we have ALL heard it a billion times, and anybody who isn’t willing to do that hard work, WHILE keeping his/her head about them, can go find another way to make a living. But that second when that instinct kicks in, that instant of decision when our deepest and most ingrained fears and assumptions kick in, tells the tale. The Police Union President said they didn’t believe that one cop kneed Bennett in the back or that the other one aimed a gun at his head and threatened to “blow your fucking brains out”. And his source for this definitive information? The two arresting officers, both of whom knew damned well that their actions, which would be routine and never even questioned with a run-of-the-mill sleazebag arrestee, could now get them fired since the victim was an NFL football star. What were they gonna say?

    I have no moire respect for anybody in the world than a seasoned, professional, dispassionate, level-headed police officer who does his/her job by the book and cares about justice. And I have no more contempt for anyone in the world than cops who rough up citizens on the basis of their skin color and inbred assumptions. The Las Vegas PD will probably never admit ANY wrong-doing, even if their internal investigation finds in favor of Michael Bennett. Police departments rarely ever admit to being wrong. But one can hope that, in court if not in the streets of Las Vegas, Michael Bennet’s whole truth is finally told.

    • art thiel

      I suspect Bennett’s attorney will file a civil-rights lawsuit. I have no background to suggest what the arguments will be, but I’m going to guess that the LVPD is going to have to do better than that press conference and the union-letter foolishness if they expect to avoid national embarrassment.

  • tor5

    Wow, that really undermines the credibility of the police in my mind. First of all, there is very little concrete evidence of what occurred with Bennett and the officer, but for a brief slice of video. The only people who really know what happened are Bennett and perhaps a few officers. Yet the police union, based solely on the word of their guys, charges Bennett with “obviously false and defamatory claims.” Of course, there’s nothing “obvious” about it. Bennett might be lying, or the cops might be lying. There’s simply no evidence, yet, either way. The troubling thing is that the union has so quickly abandoned the search for truth.

    But they don’t stop there. Then they have to bring up Bennett’s anthem protest and claim that the NFL “condones” it (factually untrue) and Bennett’s “disrespect for our American Flag, and everything it symbolizes.” So the union now thinks they have a complete psychological profile on Bennett and perfect grasp on his motives and socio-political belief system. They don’t. And, by the way, all this is irrelevant to the truth of what happened on that street in Las Vegas.

    The police union sounds like a 10 year old trying to blame the broken window on the other kid. The NFL should give them an appropriate slap.

    • art thiel

      The NFL did just that, somewhat surprisingly. The union assumes way too much about both parties in the incident, as well as the third-party NFL. Too bad they lacked an adult in the room before this letter was sent out.

  • jafabian

    If you go just on the TMZ video I don’t see how the LVPD can say it’s so obvious. In fact it practically supports Bennett. If he disobeyed a direct order that’s one thing but I think the courts would understand him running away from gunshots. The LVPD must be looking forward to when the Raiders arrive.