New video shows incident involving Seattle Seahawks player, Vegas police
Michael Bennett was detained for 10 minutes and released
By PoliceOne Staff
LAS VEGAS — Police released body camera footage Wednesday of the incident involving NFL player Michael Bennett.
The officers were responding to reports of a potential active shooter at a nightclub last month when Bennett was placed in handcuffs.
Bennett claimed he was seeking safety after he and hundreds of others heard what sounded like gunshots on Aug. 26, NPR reported. Bennett has alleged that police ordered him to the ground, where he complied with commands, and an officer placed a gun to his head and threatened to “blow his head off.” Bennett also alleges that race played a factor in the encounter.
Undersheriff Kevin McMahill said in a news conference that he believes race was not a factor in the incident, according to CBS Sports.
"I can tell you as I stand here today, I see no evidence of that," McMahill said. "I see no evidence that race played any role in this incident."
Body camera footage shows officers running to the scene and the chaos inside and outside of Drai’s nightclub. After clearing the scene in the casino the nightclub is located in, the officers headed toward the nightclub. As this was happening, McMahill said Bennett was seen “crouched down behind a gaming machine as the officers approached.”
"Once Bennett was in the officer's view, he quickly ran out the south doors, jumped over a wall onto Flamingo Road East of Las Vegas Boulevard into traffic," McMahill said. “Due to Bennett's actions, and the information the officers had at the time, they believed that Bennett may have been involved in the shooting and they gave chase. Bennett was placed in handcuffs and detained while officers determined whether or not he was involved in the incident."
McMahill said Bennett was detained for 10 minutes and released. After police explained the situation to Bennett, he told officers he “understood” why the situation occurred. He did mention having an issue with one officer who allegedly put the gun to his head.
McMahill said they are investigating the allegation, but the arresting officer did not have his body camera on. He said part of the investigation is gathering all relevant video footage from the casino and elsewhere.
“As of today, we know there are at least 126 videos associated with those cameras that we have to review,” McMahill said. “As you can imagine, it takes a significant amount of effort and time to review all the video and available evidence. If the investigation reveals that any policies or training was violated, those officers will be held accountable."
In a press release, the department asked anyone with video that could help the investigation to contact the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Internal Affairs Bureau. Bennett has hired civil rights attorney John Burris and is exploring legal options, NPR reported.
"We think there was an unlawful detention and the use of excessive force, with a gun put to his head," Burris told the Associated Press. "He was just in the crowd. He doesn't drink or do drugs. He wasn't in a fight. He wasn't resisting. He did nothing more or less than anyone in the crowd."
According to the AP, police are investigating the incident and couldn’t comment on Bennett’s account of the encounter.