Michael Bennett Was Detained By Police – Is It A Civil Rights Case? [VIDEO]

by Deanna Fisher on September 7, 2017

For the last 24 hours in the greater Pacific Northwest, the local news cycles have been consumed by Seattle Seahawks player Michael Bennett. If you didn’t look past the headlines, you wouldn’t believe there were wildfires burning out of control in the Western states unless you stepped outside and saw all the smoke and haze and ash on the ground.

So, what happened with Michael Bennett – who is continuing the National Anthem protest started by Colin Kaepernick – that would put him ahead of wildfires?

Michael Bennett, Seattle Seahawk (photo: Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

Bennett had a run-in with Las Vegas police after the Mayweather-McGregor fight. He described it this way in the tweet that broke the story:


For the condensed version, Bennett says that he was caught up in the crowd running away from alleged gunfire, was singled out by police solely because of his race, roughly detained by police, held until his identity was verified, and then released. He then likens his situation to “Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, and Charleena Lyles.”

This is where Bennett’s account really gave me pause, even before I could dig any further into the details of the story. It is never a good look to compare yourself to dead people, especially when you believe (as Bennett unquestionably does) that they died unjustly. They are dead, and you are not, and to be that melodramatic is extraordinarily tacky. And can we please also remember that Trayvon Martin was not killed by the police? His name should not be on this list if one is trying to make a point about “police brutality.” The other names and cases are well known, save for Charleena Lyles, which is more of a local story. Lyles, who had documented mental health issues, called police to her apartment in June and then pulled knives on them. She was shot and killed. Bennett has been involved in the case since her death, leading a benefit for her children. To call Lyles’ sad death a moment of “police brutality” is highly questionable.

Bennett also gave a press conference, where he spoke about what happened, and was supported by his coach, Pete Carroll.

Carroll also spoke to the press about Bennett.

He also tweeted out a formal statement.


TMZ has amateur video of Bennett’s detention by the police – and no, despite what others may have said, Bennett was NOT arrested, and he makes no claim to having been arrested, only manhandled, cuffed, and detained. The video shows Bennett, complying with police while they yell and cuff him, asking what he did wrong.

Finally, the Las Vegas Police Department held a press conference.

So, what we learned from the police:
1) The call to the police was for an “active shooter.”
2) There was no active shooter – apparently, a statue had been knocked over and broken, or some other loud noise had been heard.
3) The scene was one of absolute panic.
4) Bennett was singled out by the police because he ran from the police. (This is visible on the body camera footage that the police have.)
5) The police officers who detained Bennett were both Hispanic.
6) Bennett’s detention lasted 10 minutes, according to police.
7) Bennett mentioned at the time of the detention that one of the police officers had pointed a gun at his head, which was not disputed by the LVPD.

So, what now do you believe? If your bias is more anti-police, you will believe Bennett was targeted. If your bias is more pro-police, you will believe Bennett made himself a target by running.

There are no easy answers, so here is what I come away thinking:
1) Bennett himself has a bias against police. That is demonstrable by his words and actions. He would say that, as a black man, his bias is justified, and I don’t think anything is going to change his biases.

2) I genuinely believe that Bennett, because of his biases against police, was definitely in fear for his life. That is demonstrable during his press conference, especially at the end, when he is highly emotional. He believes that black men are targets of the police, so naturally, he was fearful and panicked when the police came in, which most likely triggered a flight response from him.

3) Running from the police when they have gotten a call of “active shooter” is the absolute wrong thing to do. If Bennett had stayed put instead of running, this would not have happened. Running drew attention to him.

4) The police have all sorts of adrenaline running through them in these situation. So they are going to say bad words and threaten a lot of things in order to get compliance. If they thought they had an active shooter on the loose, you can understand why guns were already drawn.

5) Bennett’s “eternity” in the back of a police car was really ten minutes. I get that he was emotional and had his own adrenaline flow going, but this is hardly more than a time-out.

6) The police have every right to detain people in an active crime situation. Unless Bennett’s legal team can prove that he was singled out solely for being a black man and not for running, I think the civil rights violation claim falls very very flat. Bennett is welcome to spend his millions and pay a legal team (obviously charging top dollar) to try and prove that. It’s a shame that the taxpayers of Las Vegas will end up paying for it as well.

7) I am really bothered by how Bennett immediately jumped to the racial angle, and decided to make a whole media circus out of being detained. Yes, he has a book he will be promoting. Do I think he planned for this to happen? No. Do I believe he is now using this entire media circus to promote both himself and his social justice views? Yes. But, as I say, this bothers me, as a biracial woman. Whether or not it bothers you, the reader, I leave to your own judgment.

Obviously, given the media now surrounding this, the police will be doing a full investigation, and there is most likely so much video out there that we are going to have a very full picture of what happened. Sadly, I don’t think anyone’s opinions are going to change much on this, because most have already made up their minds. Bennett isn’t going to change his opinion of the police as a whole. The police are obligated to stop and detain anyone they deem suspicious in an active investigation. All the media hoopla in this case is unhelpful and has blown the incident way out of proportion. Bennett has made unhelpful and unnecessary comparisons to other high-profile cases for no other reason than pushing the social justice angle. And I think that while Bennett has built up a lot more “cred” in certain circles after this, he may have squandered a lot more goodwill than he realizes. No one will benefit from this case – except the lawyers.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Scott September 7, 2017 at 11:40 am

With all due respect to the ladies here on VG, Micheal Bennett is a racist pussy, and Carroll is an idiot! The media continue to fan the flames of racial division that were stoked by the previous administration run by a racist who wanted to destroy the country, and we all know that his name is Barak Hussien Obama! This is his legacy!

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GWB September 7, 2017 at 12:07 pm

…I was not a thug, common criminal or ordinary black man…

IOW, DYKWIA?! Actually, Bennett, I’m going to guess you’re more of a “common thug” than you like to think. (Because most people who throw this line out there are.)

…because equality doesn’t live in this country…

Yeah, this line just makes me want – no matter my view of police overstepping their legitimate authority – to just not care about what happens to him. Sorry, man, you make how much money in a year? And somehow you’re not “equal”? FU
(Oh, and this is rich when put up against the first statement I quote. Because he obviously thinks he is part of the special people, those who should get treated differently – but he’s concerned with “equality”. Riiiiiiiiiggghhhht.)

To call Lyles’ sad death a moment of “police brutality” is highly questionable.

No, it’s downright bat guano crazy. “Highly questionable” doesn’t even remotely do it justice.

The police have all sorts of adrenaline running through them in these situation. So they are going to say bad words and threaten a lot of things in order to get compliance.

Which certainly doesn’t excuse it. The police need to keep in mind that they are not “special people” either, and don’t get to abuse people simply because they have a badge.

this is hardly more than a time-out

Which is what every child who has ever been acting out and was put in time-out has experienced. It’s forEVer. Even when it’s a lot less than 10 minutes.

Has there surfaced any video, or claims, of other people being detained? Or was Bennett the only one? If he wasn’t the only one, then any bias should become much clearer. If he was the only one, then other questions can be asked, such as “was he the only black in the crowd?” and “was he the only one who ran from police?” I sincerely hope there’s lots of body- and dash-cam footage to help establish facts.

It’s entirely possible the police acted badly, and even with a racial animus. But, given the already biased attitude of the only testifying witness, so far, I’ll withhold judgment.

As to Bennett, himself? I won’t withhold judgment. He’s an azz. He spouts a racist ideology founded on untruths and hatred. He supports people who would tear down our country. So, yeah, no matter how this goes, he’ll still be a giant azz.

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Deanna Fisher September 7, 2017 at 1:13 pm

The only reason I noted the circumstances of Lyles’ death as “highly questionable” is because the case is still under investigation. I have a gut feeling that her mental illness caused a suicide-by-cop scenario, but that’s just my gut feeling.

The police union is now complaining directly to the NFL about Bennett’s claims, so this really is going to turn into Bennett against the police.

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Jo Ann Thompson September 7, 2017 at 2:12 pm

I noticed in the video there were other Black people that the police did not chase after. Could it be that Bennett did not act responsible. I am a SeaHawk fan but players like Bennett have made me reconsider my support.

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GWB September 8, 2017 at 5:54 am

Well, that helps answer my questions above. (I can’t generally watch the videos because of bandwidth restrictions.)

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sabasarge September 7, 2017 at 9:39 pm

I found this illuminating…..
https://www.outkickthecoverage.com/michael-bennett-lying/

Keep up the good work

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GWB September 8, 2017 at 5:59 am

Wow, that was illuminating. Especially:

Attrny for Michael Bennett says race wasn’t a factor in arrest but lack of probable cause was

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Scott September 8, 2017 at 8:03 am

Some of those comments on that link were amazing in their blatant stupidity / racism, supporting Bennett regardless of the facts… I guess Ron White is correct, “you can’t fix stupid”

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