NFL responds to police union's call for action on Michael Bennet - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

NFL responds to police union's call for action on Michael Bennett

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Steve Grammas, president of the Las Vegas Police Protective Association, during an interview with FOX5 on Sept. 7, 2017. (Kurt Rempe/FOX5) Steve Grammas, president of the Las Vegas Police Protective Association, during an interview with FOX5 on Sept. 7, 2017. (Kurt Rempe/FOX5)

The NFL said it will not investigate Seattle Seahawks player Michael Bennett's allegations that Metro police used excessive force and racially profiled him after the Las Vegas Police Protective Association requested the organization to "take action."

The union, which represents active and retired Las Vegas Metro police and corrections officers, as well as the Las Vegas Deputy City and Municipal Court marshals, posted a letter on social media addressed to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell asking for an investigation into "Michael Bennett's obvious false allegations against our officers." Adding, the union believes comments made by Bennett are "false and defamatory."

The union said it believes the officers responded to "one of the most dangerous calls a law enforcement officer can be assigned- an active shooter firing rounds in a crowded casino." 

On Aug. 27, Las Vegas Metro police officers responded to reports of an active shooter at Drai's nightclub inside The Cromwell. Police said they encountered hundreds of running and screaming people inside the casino when officers arrived. Police said a fight occurred and a few large statues were knocked over, which caused a panic thinking there was gunfire. There was no active shooter in the casino. 

[READ MORE: Seahawks player accuses Metro of using excessive force and racial profiling]

In a press conference on Wednesday, Metro Undersheriff Kevin McMahill said Bennett was crouched by a machine and eventually ran from casino once he saw police and jumped over a wall toward the street. Metro officers chased Bennet and told him to stop but he continued forward before he was detained by police. 

The officers responded to the incident had "reasonable suspicion, which is the constitutional standard" to detain Bennett, the letter stated. Adding the officers involved are both minorities. 

Union President Steve Grammas says he called the officers as soon as he heard about everything Wednesday.

"They gave me the rundown of what took place out there, how insulted they are by this letter to the world and they said they did everything they were supposed to do and all the sudden we're made out to be racist officers because we did our job," Grammas said.

In a statement posted on Twitter, Bennett said he complied with officers demands while he was on the ground. He alleged an officer placed a gun near his head and warned if he moved that he would "blow my (expletive) head off." Then a second officer jammed his knee into his back. He said the officers "cinched the handcuffs on my wrists so tight that my fingers went numb."

Bennett said he believed he was racially profiled by the officers. 

"Officers did not detain Bennett because he was 'a black man in the wrong place at the wrong time,'" the letter from the police union stated. 

Grammas says his officer was kicking himself for not turning on his body camera in time, but he says it's understandable.

"I said listen, you had to go deal with a situation first don't let yourself be beaten up over that. That's not the biggest concern is pushing the button on a camera. The biggest concern is, if there's an active shooter in there to save lives, so go do that. and then in the end we'll deal with whatever happens from the camera," Grammas said.

Brian McCarthy, vice president of communications for the NFL said in an email to FOX5 that "there is no allegation of a violation of the league's personal conduct policy and therefore there is no basis for an NFL investigation."

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department said it is conducting an internal investigation into the incident. The department said it has 126 videos associated with the incident to review from officers however, the arresting officer did not have his camera turned on at the time of the incident. 

Metro said if the investigation reveals the officers were in violation of department policies they will be held accountable. 

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