Last year, NFL defensive lineman Michael Bennett was brought up on charges that he had shoved an elderly, wheelchair-bound stadium work while attending Super Bowl LI in Houston in February of 2017.
Bennett, per the charging documents, had been indicted last March — more than a year after the alleged incident — for “injury to the elderly,” a charge that was said to carry a possible penalty of up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Now, Bennett is facing no time, because the charges have been dropped.
According to KBTX in Houston, the case against Bennett will be dismissed.
“After looking at all the evidence and applying the law, a crime could not be proven beyond a reasonable doubt,” Vivian King, the Harris County prosecutor’s office’s chief of staff, said. “There was probable cause to warrant a charge initially, but after a careful review of all the pre-charge and post-charge evidence, we cannot prove this case beyond a reasonable doubt.”
The decision followed review of a great deal of footage including, the TV station said, footage that was used in the investigation when Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s jersey was stolen from that same Super Bowl.
Law enforcement in Houston had a much different reaction in the original case. Art Acevedo, Houston’s police chief, gave a press conference after charges were announced last March (per NJ.com) in which he referred to Bennett as “morally corrupt when you put your hands on a little old lady in a little wheelchair. That is morally corrupt. I mean morally bankrupt.”
Considering there was zero evidence, this isn't a surprise. @DZangaroNBCS has details of the resolution of the felony charges against Michael Bennett from 2017 Super Bowl day in Houston: https://t.co/KboApHAnzF— Reuben Frank (@RoobNBCS) April 3, 2019
There was thought to be some animosity towards Bennett on the part of police due to an earlier incident, in which the NFL player had a run-in with police officer in Las Vegas, per ESPN.
The alleged Super Bowl incident took place when Bennett, who then played for the Seattle Seahawks, attended as a spectator, in support of his brother, Martellus Bennett, who then played for the Patriots. Prosecutors said that he had forced his way onto the field in a way that wasn’t allowed, including shoving the stadium employee who was a woman in a wheelchair.
The incident took place so long ago, in fact, that Bennett has since been traded twice. He was traded first from the Seahawks to the Philadelphia Eagles, and then again, last month, from the Eagles to the Patriots. His brother, despite rumors that he would reunite with Michael, remains retired from football.