Metropolitan Police Department Sheriff Joe Lombardo has reported that Las Vegas police acted within the confines of their profession and had “reasonable suspicion” to stop Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett, following a reported shooting on the Las Vegas Strip on August 27. Sheriff Lombardo reported that the officers acted in a professional and appropriate manner and that race seemingly was not an issue. Lombardo praised the police officers for their bravery in their attendance of a potential active shooter, even though the reported shooting turned out to be false. People ducked at the sound of stanchions dropping being mistaken for gunshots. Bennett ran and maneuvered away from the sounds, as did others who continued running, but were not detained.
Michael Bennett had reportedly provided a conflicting story which later was discovered to be false and potentially laced with lies. Bennett claimed that he was targeted because of his skin color and that a police officer placed a gun to his head and threatened to shoot. Further reviews revealed that information to either not exist or to conflict with other statements due to inaccuracies or lack of evidence. Bennett was briefly detained by police, but released after police learned of Bennett’s identity via Google image search, provision of identification, as well as the determination that the reported shooting was not actually a shooting.
Race was a major concern for this incident, but Sheriff Lombardo addressed that by notifying interested minds that one of the officers was Latino. Lombardo also established that numerous African American people fleeing the scene, in the same area, were not detained.
Video footage of Sheriff Lombardo addressing the incident with Seattle Seahawks Michael Bennett:
Steve Grammas, President of the Las Vegas Police Protective Association, wants an apology from Michael Bennett for the allegations of an officer putting a gun to Bennett’s head, even though there is no evidence that occurred.
John Burris, Bennett’s attorney, suggested that he’s not shocked about the outcome of the Sheriff’s response.
The body camera of the officer who detained Bennett was not activated at the time. Video evidence up close and personal is not an option, therefore people may not know the true details of the occurrence. An officer likely cannot be reprimanded without concrete evidence of wrongdoing.
Punishment and consequences cannot be based on he said/she said reports in which there are no witnesses.