A lawyer for Seahawks defensive lineman Michael Bennett is now calling for an independent investigation into how Las Vegas police handled an incident with Bennett last month.
A lawyer for Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett on Friday called for an independent investigation into how Las Vegas police handled an incident with Bennett on Aug, 27.
The request by John Burris, an Oakland-based attorney, comes a day after the union for the Las Vegas police asked the NFL to investigate Bennett saying his claims that he was singled out because he is black and that he was mistreated while police determined if he was a suspect in a reported active shooter situation were not accurate.
Bennett revealed on Wednesday that he had been held at gunpoint during the incident at Drai’s nightclub at the Cromwell Casino on the morning of Aug. 27 — Bennett was in town for the Conor McGregor-Floyd Mayweather fight.
Wrote Burris on Friday: “Given the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and its union’s prejudgment of both Mr. Bennett and Mr. Bennett’s treatment at the hands of LVMPD police, attorney John Burris calls for an independent agency to investigate the incident. Additionally, Mr. Bennett requests any and all contemporaneously prepared 911 calls and incident reports e.g. reports made at or near the time of the incident and not reports prepared in order to retrofit the facts to support the LVMPD’s untenable position.”
What we know about Michael Bennett's incident with Las Vegas police:
- Michael Bennett alleges LVMPD held him at gunpoint after Mayweather-McGregor fight
- Las Vegas police union pens letter to NFL, asking for investigation into Bennett for "false and defamatory" claims
- Commissioner Roger Goodell, NFLPA say they won't bother
- Bennett's lawyer calls for independent investigation into Las Vegas police
Our columnists' takes:Matt Calkins | Lots of unanswered questions for Las Vegas police after Michael Bennett incident
Burris further wrote: “Over the last several days, the Las Vegas Metro Police Department and its union have begun a smear campaign aimed at demonizing and besmirching the character of Michael Bennett. This victim shaming is a common tactic used by police when they are caught violating a person’s rights.”
The letter further reveals that Las Vegas police are now saying they are investigating whether Bennett was involved in an altercation prior to the incident in which he was detained, which Burris states is an attempt at distraction.
“Now, the LVMPD claims they are investigating whether Mr. Bennett was involved in an altercation immediately before the incident. Mr. Bennett unequivocally denies this trumped up, red herring type allegation. Mr. Bennett’s message is clear and resounding, he, nor anyone else similarly situated, should be treated in this manner and he firmly believes the type of misconduct and abuse should not be condoned by LVMPD, the LVMPD police union or the public.”
After a union representing Las Vegas police on Thursday asked NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to investigate Bennett the NFL responded: “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 letter from the Las Vegas Police Protective Association Metro, Inc., claimed that Bennett made “false and defamatory” comments about the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and asked Goodell to “conduct an investigation, and take appropriate action, into Michael Bennett’s obvious false allegations against our officers.”
The letter also noted that Bennett has been sitting for the anthem and states “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.”
Burris said in a phone interview with the Seattle Times on Thursday that he didn’t put much stock in the impact of letter because “I don’t give a lot of credibility to unions because they always support the police no matter what.”
But Burris further told the Times on Thursday that “to impugn the integrity of Mr. Bennett is just outrageous” and for the police to admit that they have not completed an investigation of the incident but for the union to conclude that Bennett is making “false and defamatory” statements is nonsensical.
“To suggest he is lying without having conducted an investigation is ridiculous,” Burris said.