RENTON Michael Bennett knows you and I and everyone else has an opinion about his claims of excessive use of force and mistreatment by a Las Vegas police officer who apprehended and briefly detained him outside a casino in August.
“As I was laid on the ground, complying with his commands to not move, he placed his gun near my head and warned me that if I move he would “blow my ****ing head off,” Bennett wrote in an open letter last month. Bennett has also said he’s considering a civil-rights lawsuit over the incident that happened while police thought there was an active shooter inside the casino.
The Seahawks’ Pro Bowl defensive end also knows some people across the United States believe he is lying.
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“No, I don’t respond to them, because nobody can be in my position,” Bennett said Thursday.
“Obviously, at the end of the thing (of the video the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department has released) I’m talking to the other officers, the officers who didn’t, who weren’t a part of it. I got taken to another officer, and that’s who I ended up talking to in the end.
“I don’t hate anybody. I don’t have a problem with any police officers, just what happened to me in a certain situation.
“But, like I said, people are entitled to their position and what they believe in, no matter what happened. So at the end of the day there are going to be people who believe me and people who don’t believe me. And my ultimate goal is not to make everybody believe me, or make everybody happy. It’s just about me being able to sleep at night and continuously speak upon what happened to me, personally.”
Bennett says it doesn’t bother him that people say he wasn’t mistreated.
“No, that doesn’t bother me, at all,” he said. “I can’t really worry about what people say, because there is a certain part of people who are not going to believe you, regardless of what you do. For me, it’s to continuously state my position and keep doing what I do.”
Bennett says he has not seen the body-camera video the Las Vegas police have released.
“I was there,” he said. “So I don’t need to see the video.”
Here’s the thing for those who insist Bennett is lying--insist vehemently and in some cases obscenely, based on the e-mails and messages I’ve received about our stories on Bennett’s situation: We don’t know.
I and everyone I’ve talked to about this case have not seen a definitive video of the moment Bennett was detained. Such footage would show exactly how he was apprehended. That how, in that moment, is the crux of Bennett’s issue. The evidence presented so far has been inconclusive as to what actually happened and how Bennett was treated at that moment.
Complicating this and making it more sensitive, of course, is the massacre that killed 58 people and wounded more than 500 on Oct. 1 at concert site in Las Vegas. The same Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department immediately responded to the shooter and the victims and continues to investigate.
Thursday was the first time Bennett has spoken about his incident in Las Vegas since the mass shooting there. He did so responding to questions about it during his weekly press conference at team headquarters, before practice for Sunday’s home game against the Houston Texans.