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Michael Bennett, The NFL and the End of Policing

Michael Bennett, The NFL and the End of Policing

Photo Courtesy: YouTube


The NFL says there is “no basis” for a personal conduct investigation against Michael Bennett after the head of the union that represents Las Vegas police officers asked NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to investigate and “take appropriate action” against the Seattle Seahawks defensive end for alleging officers racially profiled him in an incident after the Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor fight on Aug. 26.

The letter by the Las Vegas Police Union comes a day after Bennett said he was detained “for doing nothing more than simply being a black man in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

The NFL concluded there was no cause to launch any probe.

“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 USA TODAY Sports.

There you have it.  That is the reason that NFL viewership was down last year and while that trend will continue this year.

Las Vegas Police respond to an active shooter in a casino and according to Undersheriff Kevin McMahill found Bennett crouching behind a slot machine and when he saw cops he ran away outside the casino and into traffic.  Police pursued, detained him for ten minutes and then released him when they discovered that he ran for no apparent reason.

While some, including Bennett and likely the NFL will dispute that, we know it is true because in American Policing in 2017, the Undersheriff would not dare say anything that was not supported 100%…..likely by video.  There are approximately 120 videos of the incident and that is exactly why we know that Bennett’s claim of racism is false.

In the body camera footage, police ran by hundreds of African Americans but it was supposedly Bennett that they profiled?

We know the NFL condones kneeling for the National Anthem and apparently the NFL condones running from cops as well.

Even more troubling is Bennett’s vocal accusation of racial profiling and for that, we hope that those officers involved take appropriate legal action against him.

There is nothing worse in America today than being called a racist and to do it falsely drives a deeper wedge between law enforcement and the community that they serve.

Bennett is a icon and he has a duty to correct this wrong.  He already kneels for the National Anthem so we suspect he will keep the lie up just like others have done in Ferguson and other high profile incidents.

If Bennett doesn’t correct the wrong, then NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell  should.

He won’t and he has already dealt his hand when he said that the league office “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.”

We suppose the only saving grace about this incident today is that President Obama didn’t get in front of a microphone and launch into the institutional racism of law enforcement rant which unfortunately was common until this year.  Why not?  After all, a bunch of cops run towards gunfire inside a casino while thousands are running away only to find some guy later identified as a kneeling NFL player hiding from them who then runs away from the very cops there to save citizens.

We suppose in the America that the NFL promotes, cops should just ignore that?

If that day comes and if cops continue to be treated in this fashion, it is highly likely.

About The Author

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Law Officer is the only major law enforcement publication and website owned and operated by law enforcement. This unique facet makes Law Officer much more than just a publishing company but is a true advocate for the profession.

  • bacchys

    The players kneeling do so in protest of what they perceive is law enforcement officers getting away with murder and other violations of the law. Should anyone believe that those angry over them doing so supports LEO’s getting away with crimes?

    Bennett may be wrong about his assessment of what happened, but that’s not a basis for disciplining him. Given how often police rely on “good faith” being an excuse for error, it’s surprising Law Officer doesn’t get it.

  • mf2112

    How about you stop being “cops” and go back to being “police officers”? Is that too difficult?

    • OregonCopper

      I would if I knew what you were talking about…

  • Police Chaplain

    Well said Travis. Shared.

  • Eric

    The police are full of BS! Go get a life.

    • Katrina

      Best of Society? I agree! Thanks!

      • Police Chaplain

        Good response.

        • Eric

          Quit brown nosing.

          • Police Chaplain

            Eric you’re an idiot troll. Get off our site.

      • Eric

        Make yourself clear I won’t holler at you.

    • Carl Small th

      That was a totally ignorant response. We’re you there? NO! Did you see the CCTV footage? NO! Would you put your own life on the line for the public’s safety? I’m certain that you would not! You’re self centered and driven by knee jerk responses. You make assumptions and come to conclusions without any foundation, except from your poorly preconcieved prejudices. You are the one in need of a real life, not to mention a dire need for a functional reality check.

      • Eric

        The rest of society is asking you to practice your white WHITE SUPREMACY on your own time and not expect us to pay for it! You’re not important, so stop flattering yourself.

        • Carl Small th

          Why must you turn everything into a racial issue? You’re showing “your” racial bias, and once again your ignorance or total disregard for FACTS. I suppose you could be shown proof of a dog, but your little mind would still come up with rat. Again, you jump to conclusions about my “white supremacy”. It’s a supremacy of mind and “common sense”, of which you appear to have little of. I’m Mexican, jackass!!

          • Katrina

            Great and thoughtful and realistic response.

          • Carl Small th

            Lol. No. Not one of them, but nevertheless, I consider myself fortunate & try to pay it forward when able. Take care.

    • LEO

      It must be terrible going through life believing everyone is out to get you because of your skin color.

      • Eric

        Don’t flatter yourself no one “worries” about cops or white people just do your job asshole!

        • LEO

          Why are you so angry,Eric? Calm down, it’ll be okay.

  • ahaz

    Let’s see. This was a supposed active shooter situation where one would expect a person to take cover and then flee when the opportunity presented itself. These LVPD cops took it upon themselves the focus on what would be normal activity, and because Bennett was black and male, naturally assumed he was a target. They cuffed him and pointed a gun at his head. Yeah, Bennett wasn’t profiled…end sarcasm.

    • LEO

      You obviously know nothing about case law that allows an officer to detain a person when they reasonably believe that person may have been involved in a crime. The call was of an active shooter. They learned later on that some loud noises, not gun shots, prompted the calls from numerous people of a shooter. The police walked by hundreds of black males without detaining even one. Where is the racial profiling? Bennett’s actions of running when seeing the police obviously aroused the suspicions of the Hispanic officers who eventually detained him for 10 minutes and then let him go. Handcuffing him and pointing a gun at him would be standard in a call of this nature. The officer must protect themselves in the event the person was the shooter. In the video I watched the officer never pointed a gun at Bennett’s head. Hmm, another lie? What I see in your comment is someone who has such a hard on for law enforcement that you won’t even use logic when making your argument. You responded emotionally instead of using logic and common sense.

      • Katrina

        Ahaz isn’t interested in logic and common sense. He fancies himself a LE expert while sitting safely behind his keyboard telling others how they should do their jobs.. He read the PERF report so thinks that qualifies him without a day of training or even a citizen’s academy. The UK police are unarmed, etc. ad nausium. You had a great reply, but I’m pretty sure it fell on deaf ears.
        I think this “famous football star” did this for publicity. If his version were true, why didn’t he file a formal complaint? He is aware (or his lawyer told him) he can be prosecuted for a false report.
        While boycotting NFL, I’m making a list of sponsors that pay them big bucks and letting them know why their commercials aren’t being seen. Sick of the sporting industry and Hollywood trying to tell us how to think. They are both losing viewership.

        • LEO

          I agree with you. I’ve grown tired of overpaid athletes and actors spouting off like their opinion actually means something.

        • ahaz

          Katrina, I’ve missed you in your role as apologist in chief for LE behaviors. You and LEO can rationalize all you want, but it seems that out of all the people reacting to a possible active shooter situation, the “big black man” was the only one that had a gun pointed at his head. The officers claimed Bennett saw them and then he ran. I think we’ve heard that story ad nauseum from police when they encounter black males, especially when PC is questionable. At this point, given the history of LVPD, there is no reason at all to doubt Bennetts version of events, which seem to be backed up by video evidence to this point. Based upon the reporting I’ve heard thus far, Bennett as retained a lawyer and will be filing a complaint. While I have little doubt the officer actions will be deemed justified, as the system protects it it’s own, Bennett is correct to make his case known and pursue it to his satisfaction.

          • LEO

            So your biggest complain is that it was a black man who was detained, am I right? If it was a white man you would have been okay with it I gather. Hmm. I think I’m beginning to sense a pattern. In your mind anytime a black person is detained it’s due to racism, I guess. Black people in your mind cannot be stopped even if they are suspects in a crime because it might offend your delicate sensibilities. Gotcha!

            I am curious how you believe Bennett’s version which you claim is backed by video evidence. Bennett’s chief complaint was that he was racially profiled. Why then did all those police officers walk by hundreds of blacks without even stopping one? Where is the profiling? So one would have to assume Bennett must have done something to arouse the suspicions of a HISPANIC officer. Also, I don’t know if you’re aware of it but Bennett’s own attorney has backed off of the racial profiling aspect and is now claiming the police had no probable cause to make the stop. The supreme court ruled a long time ago that the police could detain someone based on reasonable suspicion if they believe that person may have been involved in a crime. You would think an attorney would know that.

            Bennett will not file a complaint with the LVPD because he will have to swear what he said was true and doesn’t want to face the risk of perjuring himself or giving ammunition for a civil suit by the officer he slandered.

          • my 2 cents

            BENNETT is the only one you heard because he is the one whining about being detained. Every comment I have read ASSUMES that poor BENNETT was the only one who was detained. Unless you were there and fully aware of all actions please keep your mouth shut and let them investigate what happened. If the LVPD did something wrong then go after them. If not, then please, I beg you, go after BENNETT. As long as it’s free to make all these BS complaints, people like him will continue to make these accusations.

        • LegalBeagle

          The CONDUCT drew the attention, not his pigment. Staring and then running … that’s the issue, not the pigment. What he needs is for the local prosecutors to file whatever is the proper charge for his non-compliance. He was given a lawful and reasonable order to stop based on the reasonable suspicion created by his actions, and failed to comply. People of status who act this way are MORE important to charge than the average lackwit, because it sends a message. (I was and still am often less patient with people who seem to have everything going for them, because they acted as though their fecal material was not malodorous and that thus they should get away with more. Wrong – you have more going for you, then you should as though you do.)

          • bacchys

            I don’t disagree his conduct likely mattered far more than the colour of his skin. I see the police run past black men in the video.
            However, they were yelling at people to get out of the casino. So let’s assume the police account here is accurate: he looked at them and then bolted. So, he hears a loud noise, hears people say it’s a shooter. He takes cover. He sees cops. He looks at cops. Cops yell for people to leave. He obeys. That’s suspicious?

          • LegalBeagle

            The evacuation was over, and he just looked at them and ran as if he was engaged in misconduct. It is enough under the controlling case law, such as Wardlaw, and once directed to stop, he had to. No discretion, no question. The charge appropriate for that needs to be filed.

          • bacchys

            That is not an accurate statement at all. The evacuation was not over. The cop whose body cam has been released can be clearly heard just prior to Bennett running yelling for people to get out and telling other cops to get the people out. He passed people still exiting the casino on his way out after Bennett.

            No video showing anyone telling him to stop has been released yet. Nothing yet released shows he refused to obey an order to stop.

          • LegalBeagle

            Video is not the only evidence. BWCs are not the panacea that they are claimed to be; they do not catch everything.

          • bacchys

            I agree, but when they do catch people still in the casino and people exiting the casino (including other black men), we can know certain things from the video: the casino wasn’t yet clear of other people when Bennett started running, and he wasn’t stopped simply because he’s a black man.
            I also agree he may have been ordered to stop and didn’t, but we’ve seen no evidence of that. Asserting that as if it were fact based on there being no evidence to support that seems dubious. YMMV.

          • LegalBeagle

            There is evidence. The statements of the officers involved. I understand that there are a lot of people who have come to the conclusion that if the cops don’t have video, it did not happen, but that is not the law. It is an unfortunate reflection of the corrosive effect of the lies about numerous incidents (Like Garner in NYC and Brown in Ferguson). (And yes, I understand that there are in fact example of LE misconduct of similar nature and that those can’t be tolerated, either.)

          • bacchys

            We haven’t been given those statements, and there’s video that shows other people were still in the casino and the police were still shouting for people to get out.

            If we were to start tallying up lies, the police aren’t going to look like paragons of truth. Did you ever see the cigarettes Garner was supposedly selling that day?

          • LegalBeagle

            No, NYPD does not release the level of information to which I am accustomed. I also have no idea (same reason) if they recovered any from the person to whom they were sold. This may also relate to the media focus on the use of force and final outcome. I do recall that the attention on him was a result of community complaints to the precinct about his conduct, to which the precinct commander was trying to be responsive. (Not something about which I would GAF, probably, but I don’t live there and did not have to put up with his conduct.)

            About a year ago, I did some searching and found the video shot by a neighbor. There was nothing that was even arguably a “chokehold”, LVNR, or anything of that nature. The only time at which the officer’s hands were near Garner’s neck was roughly 11 seconds, and it is clear that what was being done was application of a leverage technique because Garner was taller (and clearly heavier) than the officer. The whole “I can’t breathe” thing is is so much BS – if one cannot breathe, they cannot talk – anyone who has had basic first aid including the Heimlich should know that. He could not breathe because he was grossly out of shape and could not sustain the struggle in which he unlawfully engaged.

          • bacchys

            Ugh. There’s so much wrong there I don’t know where to begin.

            The police weren’t there because of Garner. They were called because of a fight. A fight which, reportedly, Garner had broken up before they arrived. At which point they began questioning/ harassing Garner and that’s where the cell phone video breaks in.
            The “if you can talk, you can breathe” thing is complete BS. All it takes is air- of any quality- moving past the vocal chords. The feeling of not being able breathe, however, stems from being unable to adequately expel CO2 and not getting enough oxygen. People have asphyxiated babbling the entire time. He was overweight and, reportedly, asthmatic: his problems breathing may not have been from the chokehold. OTOH, the attempt to restrain him is certainly a precipitating event, and I don’t share your view that it’s not a chokehold.
            Every cop who gives the “You can talk, so you can breathe” speech to a detainee/arrestee should be answerable for making a medical diagnosis in the event something happens. Somehow I don’t think the unions would agree to that, however. 😉
            I don’t know that his struggle was unlawful, either. The NYPD has never given a valid reason explaining how they went from answering one call to trying to arrest Garner. The cigarette sales excuse didn’t come out until a day later. Further, his record and other reports support a history of NYPD officers harassing Garner. He had 30 arrests and zero convictions. We know he had zero convictions because the NYPD didn’t report any after his death, and one thing they’re really good at is telling the public the criminal history of people who are killed by NYPD officers. For an example, Bratton made sure the public knew Akai Gurley had a criminal record even though it had absolutely nothing to do with his death from an “accidental” shooting by now-former Ofc. Peter Liang.
            Now, I agree Garner shouldn’t have resisted. If a cop is wrongfully arresting you, struggling with him accomplishes nothing except give him a valid reason to arrest you. It’s going to kill any future lawsuit/etc. But that’s asking a lot of people, especially when there is zero reason to believe the NYPD- or any other police department- is going to hold officers accountable for erroneous detentions and arrests like that. After thirty times of being arrested with no convictions, the big man probably felt like enough is enough.

          • LegalBeagle

            My recollection is that the fight was claimed by others, but I am unaware of it ever being shown to have occurred. The precinct had multiple complaints from people in the neighborhood about the “loosies” sales and whether that was worth the time is not for me. However, I am very confident that was not a chokehold of any form; I watched the video several times and never saw anything that was even close. If the PC was a sworn officer (he’s not – the position is technically civilian), that would be Brady/Giglio material as he was either lying or simply unqualified to have an opinion.

          • bacchys

            I just watched it again: he’s got him in a chokehold. Whether he means to do that or not, I don’t know, but his forearm is across Garners neck pressing against the artery and he’s grabbing that hand in get more leverage on the hold.

            I don’t doubt his intent was to just take a very large man down- he’s going for a headlock, not a choke, but his forearm is in a position to cause a blood choke.

            But I don’t think that’s the source of Garner’s breathing problem. That like stems from his size, having his arms pulled behind his back, and the weight the officers are putting on top of him.

          • LegalBeagle

            One who is that far out of shape should not change their exercise program that way, I agree.

            What I saw when I watched the video was a leverage technique being applied to get Garner off his feet. The contact in the area of the neck/throat was tangential to that, and nowhere near long enough to have any effect consistent with any of the techniques often referred to as a “chokehold”. I am not a fan of the LVNR, even admitting that if properly done it is a very safe and effective technique, because it is very hard to do well under stress. Most if not all errors in application under stress have a good chance of doing real damage to the throat complex; I had it happen to me in training simply because of the muscularity of the person applying it. Most agencies will not train well enough to use such a complex technique.

    • Police Chaplain

      You’re an idiot troll.

  • guns2317

    The NFL showed quite clearly just how they feel about Police when they refused to allow Dallas to wear a decal on their helmets last year honoring the 5 assassinated officers. I stopped watching any NFL games as soon as I heard that. Amazing how much more productive my Sunday afternoons are now.

    Goodell will not ever do anything to address what Bennett did. They don’t care.

    • Katrina

      Not only am I boycotting NFL, I’m letting their sponsors know their expensive commercials aren’t being watched, either.

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