NFL Player Who Claimed Police Brutalized Him Gets Hit With More Bad News

A high-profile member of the NFL recently endured a terrifying experience, but not everyone sees it the way he does. Now, his fellow sports stars are standing behind him in a show of support.

Michael Bennett, a star defensive player for the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks, made headlines before the season started for an incident that happened off the field. He claims that he was held at gunpoint by members of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department for no viable reason.

Bennett held a press conference to share his story, and he explained that he was in fear for his life at the time of the incident. He says he was racially profiled, and he wanted to call attention to the incident in the most public fashion possible.

The LVMPD disputed his claims, and the fact that there are two sides to every story tells us there may be more information that has yet to come to the surface.

As ThinkProgress shares, Bennet’s word is good enough for several big-name athletes to get together and pen a letter of support on his behalf.

“This story is awful enough. The response by the Las Vegas police union has been even worse. They have issued a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell calling for Bennett to be investigated for “obvious false allegations against our officers,” the letter reads in part.

“Instead of refuting these allegations, the police union made reference to Bennett’s protests of the national anthem, writing, '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 police officers.' They are, in effect, using Bennett’s political protest as a pretext to investigate him.”

That’s some convenient wordsmithing there, but Bennett’s political protest is not being presented as a pretext to investigation. It’s being presented as a factor that must be considered, as the department contends that there was no wrongdoing on their part. Maybe there was, maybe there wasn’t, but how can we automatically assume that Bennett’s interpretation of the events tells the whole story?

We can’t. That’s not to suggest that he’s making things up, but rather to point out that there needs to be a full investigation that clearly relays both sides of the story. Somewhere in the middle of them lies the truth.

“Since Bennett publicized his encounter with the LVMPD, a spokesperson for the police has confirmed that it is conducting an investigation of Bennett to determine ‘whether Mr. Bennett was involved in the altercation at the hotel casino prior to his detention on Las Vegas Boulevard,'” the letter continues.

“This is clearly an act of retaliation against Bennett for speaking out against police brutality. It is also a gesture of intimidation against anyone else who would dare challenge the right of the Las Vegas police department to act with impunity. This is unacceptable.”

While some folks apparently interpret the department’s response as retaliation, the reality is that it’s doing what anyone else would do if they found themselves accused of something they say they didn’t do. The department is defending itself against the allegations.

Who wouldn’t do that? If the department reviewed the incident and found the officers in question were completely wrong, why would they take such a huge risk for something that can be so easily investigated? That’s among the many questions that need to be answered, and those that are jumping to conclusions need to sit tight and wait and see how this plays out.

“Michael Bennett has been sitting during the anthem precisely to raise these issues of racist injustice that are now an intimate part of his life. Now we stand with him,” the letter concludes.

Among the athletes responsible for the letter are Colin Kaepernick, Martina Navritalova, and Megan Rapinoe. While it’s great that they all have Bennett’s back, we would again urge caution before jumping to conclusions.

Bennett’s take may be one hundred percent accurate - but it also may not be.

Source: ThinkProgress
Photos: YouTube

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