Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Michael Bennett turned himself in after being charged with a felony stemming from an incident at last year’s Super Bowl, ESPN reported.
Bennett was charged with injury to the elderly after being accused of knocking over a 66-year-old paraplegic female security guard while trying to get to the postgame celebration on the field.
According to the district attorney’s office, Bennett was at Super Bowl LI in Houston in 2017 to watch his brother, Martellus, who was a member of the New England Patriots.
The Patriots beat the Falcons for the championship, and Bennett allegedly shoved his way onto the field through security personnel who were telling him he had to access the field another way.
Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said Bennett told security, “You all must know who I am, and I can own the motherf***er. I’m going down to the field, whether you like it or not.”
The woman Bennett is charged with harming suffered a sprained shoulder in the incident.
Bennett was released after posting $10,000 bail.
Has Bennett responded?
Bennett hasn’t commented publicly, but his lawyer fully denied the alleged crime took place.
“He just flat-out didn’t do it,” attorney Rusty Hardin said. “It wasn’t a case of, ‘He didn’t shove her that hard,’ or anything like that. … He never touched her.”
What did the police say?
Acevedo called Bennett “morally bankrupt,” “morally corrupt,” and said it was “pretty pathetic that you’d put your hands on a 66-year-old paraplegic and treat them like they don’t exist.
It’s not certain whether there is video of the incident, although Deadspin reported that Houston police did not review any video in its investigation, and the case is based on recollection of an officer who was present.
Bennett’s relationship with police
Bennett has been one of the NFL’s most vocal players on the subject of police violence against minorities.
He was also involved in an incident last fall in which he was mistaken for a gunman in Las Vegas and briefly detained by police.
Bennett claimed he was threatened and racially profiled during that encounter, but police deny any wrongdoing and video does not clearly show that Bennett was threatened. He was released once they confirmed there was not the gunman and that Bennett had done nothing wrong.