Michael Bennett's attorney calls for independent review of Metro - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Michael Bennett's attorney calls for independent review of Metro incident

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An image shows an officer taking Michael Bennett into custody on Aug. 27, 2017. (Source: John Burris Law) An image shows an officer taking Michael Bennett into custody on Aug. 27, 2017. (Source: John Burris Law)

An attorney representing Seattle Seahawks player Michael Bennett called for an independent investigation into an incident on the Las Vegas Strip where Bennett accused Metro police of excessive force and racial profiling. 

A press release from John L. Burris, Bennett's attorney, said the police department and its union have "begun a smear campaign aimed at demonizing and besmirching the character of Michael Bennett." Burris said victim shaming is a common practice used by police. 

[RELATED: NFL responds to police union's call for action on Michael Bennett]

Burris said Bennett has "no reason to concoct a story." Adding the officers involved in the incident "have every reason to concoct a story in order to cover-up the violations of Mr. Bennett's constitutionally protected rights."

Burris said his law office alerted the police department about the incident on Aug. 27 when police were responding to reports of an active shooter at Drai's Nightclub inside The Cromwell long before the morning of their press conference when they said Bennett never filed a criminal complaint. He said on Aug. 29, the law office made numerous attempts to view the body camera footage of the incident. The first request was made by email and via FedEx on Aug. 29. Burris said per Nevada law, the police department was obligated to respond to Bennett's request and/or make arrangements to view the footage by Tuesday. 

On Wednesday, the law office made another request to view the footage. After 5 p.m., Bennett's representatives received a response, which was after the police department held a press conference and released some of the body camera footage that Bennett requested. Burris said the footage that was shown "conveniently does not capture the critical portions of the incident."

During the press conference, Metro Undersheriff Kevin McMahill said the arresting officer did not have his body camera turned on during the incident. He added there are 126 videos associated with the incident to review.

Burris pointed out that the police department made the conclusion that race had nothing to do with the incident without completing the investigation.

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

McMahill said "patrons of all races" were evacuated from the casino" and "there is no evidence that race played a role in this incident."

Burris added, that other people were running from the casino when an officer said "clear everybody out," he said that is when Bennett ran out of the casino. 

The officer then ran after Bennett who jumped over a wall toward the street. Bennett claimed an officer placed a gun near his head, warning him not to move or he would blow his head off. He said a second officer then jammed his knee into his back making it difficult for him to breathe. 

Burris said he hopes the police department will release all video footage, the 911 calls, the names of the arresting officers and "ceasing and desisting from making misleading public statements."

Stay with FOX5 and FOX5Vegas.com for developments. 

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