Union for LVMPD officers calls for investigation into Michael Bennett

Sep 7, 2017, 11:08 AM | Updated: 4:37 pm
michael bennett, seahawks...
Seahawks DE Michael Bennett said Colin Kaepernick can't be taken out of conversations with the league. (AP)

The union representing Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department officers has issued a letter to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell requesting an investigation into Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett. The letter, which calls Bennett’s statements about an encounter with Las Vegas Police defamatory, also makes mention of Bennett’s national anthem protest.

Video: Gee Scott reacts to Michael Bennett’s police encounter

“On behalf of the rank and file members of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, I request that you conduct an investigation, and take appropriate action, into Michael Bennett’s obvious false allegations against our officers. While the NFL may condone Bennett’s disrespect of our American flag, and everything it symbolizes, we hope the League will not ignore Bennett’s false accusations against our police officers,” states the letter, written by Las Vegas Metro Police Protective Association president Det. Steve Grammas.

“I don’t believe this, in any way, diminishes what Michael Bennett does on the field,” Grammas told KIRO Radio’s Zak Burns. “I think he made a bad decision by making these claims. That doesn’t even mean I think he’s a bad person. But these claims were made and we believe they’re false and it could lead to bigger issues in the community, both in Seattle and Las Vegas.”

Grammas added that he understands the support Bennett is getting from Seattle and Pete Carroll.

“I understand why he would take the position he does because that is his player,” Grammas said. “It’s just like me supporting my guys.”

The NFL responded to Grammas’ request on Thursday:

Bennett described an alarming encounter with police in Vegas during which he says an officer pointed a gun at Bennett’s head and warned he would “blow my (expletive) head off” if Bennett moved.

The encounter occurred when police responded to a call of an active shooter situation at the Cromwell casino at 1:30 a.m. on Aug. 27. Video surveillance shows officers entering the building and ordering patrons to flee. According to the LVMPD undersheriff Kevin McMahill, an officer noticed Bennett crouched behind a gaming machine and gave chase when Bennett got up and ran out of the building.

“Once Bennett was in the officer’s view, he quickly ran out of the south doors, jumped over a wall onto Flamingo Road East of Los Vegas Boulevard into traffic. Due to Bennett’s actions and the information the officers had at the time, they believed Bennett may have been involved in the shooting and they gave chase,” McMahill said.

McMahill confirmed the two officers who followed Bennett, including the arresting officer, had handguns.

McMahill said the department is reviewing 126 videos that may have captured the incident. He encouraged bystanders who may have video from the event to submit it to the LVMPD for evidence.

Speaking with reporters on Wednesday, Bennett said the event was traumatizing and emotional, but that his decision to go public was not in opposition to police officers.

“Do I think every police officer is bad? No, I don’t believe that,” Bennett said. “Do I believe that there are some people out there that judge people by the color of their skin? I do believe that and I’m just focused on trying to push forward and keep continuously championing the quest for justice for people, keeping pushing equality for oppressed people and that’s what I am about and going to keep doing.”

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