Las Vegas police are investigating whether Seattle Seahawks defensive lineman Michael Bennett was involved in an altercation before he was detained by police in the early morning hours of Aug. 27.
Bennett said he was detained by police "for doing nothing more than simply being a black man.” Las Vegas police undersheriff Kevin McMahill, however, told reporters Wednesday that his officers were responding to reports of a shooting at the Cromwell Las Vegas Hotel & Casino and officers pursued Bennett after he was seen crouching behind a gaming machine before he ran out of the casino.
“It’s fair to say the LVMPD is continuing to investigate whether Mr. Bennett was involved in the altercation at the hotel casino prior to his detention on Las Vegas Boulevard,” Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department spokesperson Larry Hadfield told USA TODAY Sports on Thursday.
Hadfield said police couldn’t yet confirm whether Bennett was involved in an incident at Drai’s Nightclub inside the Cromwell Las Vegas immediately before the erroneous reports of gunshots.
John Burris, the famed civil rights attorney representing Bennett, told USA TODAY Sports that he “was not aware” of an incident that night before his client was detained.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement released Wednesday that Bennett "represents the best of the NFL -- a leader on his team and in his community.”
“We will support Michael and all NFL players in promoting mutual respect between law enforcement and the communities they loyally serve and fair and equal treatment under the law," Goodell wrote.
Steve Grammas, president of the Las Vegas Police Protective Association, responded Thursday with a letter to Goodell that asked the NFL to investigate Bennett and "take appropriate action" under the league’s personal conduct policy over Bennett’s "false allegations" of racial profiling.
“There is no allegation of a violation of the league’s personal conduct policy and therefore there is no basis for an NFL investigation,” NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy said in an email to USA TODAY Sports Thursday in response to the police union letter.