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NFL protester's accusations against police were untrue, investigation finds

Las Vegas police officers were cleared of wrongdoing in the Aug. 27 arrest of NFL player Michael Bennett. (Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

NFL player Michael Bennett, an outspoken social justice protester who plays for the Seattle Seahawks, accused Las Vegas police of racial profiling and using excessive force when he was arrested Aug. 27.

Friday, the head of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department said the investigation found that officers acted appropriately and professionally during the arrest, and they were cleared of any wrongdoing.

What were the officers accused of?

Bennett posted a statement on Twitter on Sept. 6 accusing officers of singling him out and pointing their guns at him for "simply being a black man in the wrong place at the wrong time."

He said an officer pointed a gun near his head and warned him not to move or he would "blow my f***ing head off," and that another officer jammed his knee in his back so hard he could barely breathe.

The investigation, which included a thorough review of body cam and other footage, showed that Bennett was indeed arrested and held at gunpoint, but does not corroborate Bennett's accusation of racial profiling and does not contain evidence of the verbal threats.

“From the evidence we have at this point, we don’t know (the officer) said that,” the Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo said of Bennett's accusation.

Why was Bennett arrested?

There were reports of gunshots in a Las Vegas nightclub, and the sound caused those in the club to flee the scene. It was while he was running away from the club that Bennett was arrested.

The sound of gunfire turned out to be the sound of velvet rope stands falling during an altercation.

Bennett had not committed any crime, and he was released after being held for about 10 minutes.

What are both sides saying about it now?

Lombardo was understanding of Bennett's perspective on the situation, but said there was no evidence of improper behavior on the part of the officers.

“Mr. Bennett has a valid perspective as a person who experienced a reasonable-suspicion stop for a felony crime,” Lombardo said. “Those who experience such a stop, especially when they have not committed a crime, are not likely to feel good about it.”

Bennett's attorney, John Burris, is not satisfied and wants to review the footage that was used in the investigation.

“He was not acting improperly,” Burris told The Associated Press. “He was not acting suspicious. He was not involved in any criminal activity. There’s nothing to go on, no description, other than you see this big black man running.”

One last thing…
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