Earlier this month, Mary blogged about Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett claiming that he was racially profiled and victimized by Las Vegas police.  Bennett, an early supporter of former 49er Colin Kaepernick’s anti-American protests, further claimed that one of the officers threatened to “blow [his] head off.”

Police responded to reports of gunfire in a casino, appropriately entered the casino with guns drawn, ordered those present to get down, and saw Bennett fleeing the scene.

Additional police body cam footage, along with various security camera footage, has been released and shows that Bennett defied police orders and ran from the casino.  We do not hear whether or not Bennett was threatened with having his head “blown off,” however, because that officer’s body cam was not on.  This officer may be disciplined for the lapse.

Watch the report:

From the video, it looks like the people who were not down on the floor were fleeing toward the exit behind the police entering that area.  Running toward the police.  Bennett, however, is running off to the side.  He was probably panicked and looking for cover behind the slot machines there, but it was different enough from the behavior of the other civilians present to warrant police suspicion.

Although this footage is grainy, it appears that at least one black male was among those running toward the exit behind the officers.  He was neither followed nor detained presumably because his behavior was not suspicious.

In the video initially released in early September, police can be heard shouting, “one running! There’s one running!”  As they chased after Bennett who appeared to be fleeing the scene, the police pass several black males milling around just outside the casino.  None are engaged by police.

It seems clear from the released video that the police officers were not interested in Bennett because he was black.  There were plenty of other black males within inches of the officers at various times, but they were ignored completely as the police officers pursued Bennett.

This seems to contradict his insistence that he was targeted”for doing nothing more than simply being a black man in the wrong place at the wrong time.”  There were plenty of black men present at that place and time, yet it was Bennett’s behavior, and his alone, that drew police attention, as did his failure to comply with police orders.

Failing to stop when told to do so by police is a really bad idea, as Bennett quickly found out.  Watch the video of police explaining to Bennett that his running from the scene instead of following police orders was the reason for his detention.

The AP reports:

Police acted appropriately and professionally detaining Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett when he ran from a casino as officers searched for an active shooter following a report of gunfire at an after-hours club on the Las Vegas Strip, the head of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department said Friday.

A review of hundreds of videos, including police body-worn cameras, found no evidence that the three officers who had direct contact with the NFL star early Aug. 27 profiled Bennett by race or used excessive force, Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo said.

“Mr. Bennett has a valid perspective as a person who experienced a reasonable-suspicion stop for a felony crime,” Lombardo told reporters. “Those who experience such a stop, especially when they have not committed a crime, are not likely to feel good about it.”

Bennett committed no crime, the sheriff said. But he was detained at gunpoint, handcuffed and seated for about 10 minutes in the back of a patrol car while police searched the crowded casino just hours after an Aug. 26 boxing match between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Conor McGregor. What people thought was gunfire was actually the sharp sound of velvet rope stands knocked to a tile floor during a scuffle.

Once handcuffed and in police protection, officers repeatedly told Bennett to get in the car.  He kept trying to explain why he ran instead of doing what he was told.  He doesn’t seem belligerent, but he’s clearly upset.  One police officer becomes (understandably) irate and cusses at Bennett in an apparent attempt to break through his hysteria.  It worked.  Bennett got in the car and calmed down.

Watch the footage from the police body cams.

The videos do seem to support the Las Vegas police conclusion that Bennett was not targeted due to his race.

Ironically, Bennett’s explanation of why he sits down during the national anthem may provide some insight into his attitude toward police and thus into why he behaved so suspiciously.

“I have always held a strong conviction that protesting or standing up for justice is just simply, the right thing to do,” Bennett explained. “This fact is unequivocally, without question why before every game, I sit during the national anthem – because equality doesn’t live in this country and no matter how much money you make, what job title you have, or how much you give, when you are seen as a ‘N—–,’ you will be treated that way.”

How tragic is it that Bennett appears to have been the only one present who sees himself this way?


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