Vegas sheriff: No evidence officers mistreated Michael Bennett

When David Gomez looked through the body cam video and news conference, he saw two sides, both of them right at points and both of them wrong at others.

The head of Las Vegas police says officers acted appropriately and professionally detaining Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett after a report of gunfire at an after-hours club on the Las Vegas Strip.

Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo said Friday that reviews of hundreds of videos, including police body-worn cameras, found no evidence that officers racially profiled Bennett or used excessive force.

Lombardo says nothing has been found to support Bennett's allegation, made on Twitter, that an officer put a gun to his head and threatened to blow his head off.

Police say Bennett darted behind a row of slot machines and failed to stop when officers noticed him running from a crowded casino during a search for what police believed was an active shooter.

Retired FBI and former LAPD officer David Gomez reviewed the video and told us what he thought. First, to the question of whether Bennett was racially profiled:

"If you have an African American male get up and start running, and the suspect is described as an African American male with a gun, the guy that's running is going to draw your attention to him. He was engaged in activity that was different than anybody else. I saw the police officer acting in accordance with their training and standard operating procedure for that kind of event, that kind of radio call," said Gomez.

Then there's the question about the actual detainment, not arrest, where Bennett was placed in handcuffs. He alleges police pointed a gun at his head and threatened to blow it off if he moved. Because the arresting officer's body camera was not working, we may never know what was said, but Gomes says officers are trained to have a command presence.

"When you're dealing with a man as big as Michael Bennett, you might use some colorful language to gain compliance," he said. Think of this, you know, you're an average sized police officer and you're confronted with a National Football League defensive lineman. And the only thing a police officer my size or your size is thinking is I need to get him under control as quickly as possible."

As far as whether the gun was pointed at Bennett's head, Bennett tweeted a picture allegedly showing his arrest with an officer's gun near his head while Bennett was on the ground. Lombardo would only confirm that a weapon was drawn on Bennett. Then he was moved to the patrol car.

"From what I saw of the police officer escorting him to the car was nothing but professional conduct. And I saw nothing but professional response from Michael Bennett," said Gomez.

So who's at fault?

"It's an easy mistake to make and I don't blame Michael Bennett in the least for assuming he had been targeted. And I don't blame the police officers for focusing on him," said Gomez. "Allegations happen all the time and there's his side of the story and other people's side of the story, but from the videos that were shown, from the conversations I saw happen, everybody was excited, everybody's adrenaline was flowing, but nobody was treated unprofessionally. Everybody is right and sometimes everybody can be wrong, but nobody's at fault."

© 2017 KING-TV


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