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Sheriff addresses incident between Las Vegas police and NFL star Michael Bennett

In a rare press conference, Sheriff Joe Lombardo personally explained what led officers to chase and detain NFL star Michael Bennett. (KSNV/LVMPD)

In a rare press conference, Sheriff Joe Lombardo personally explained what led officers to chase and detain NFL star Michael Bennett.

It happened around 1 a.m. on Aug. 27, inside the Cromwell Hotel, as officers responded to a report of an active shooter.

“You’ll see Michael Bennett appear in a crouched stance,” said Lombardo, as he described the scene, with hundreds of people ducking for cover.

Lombardo says officers repeatedly yelled commands for people to stay put, but that Bennett stood out because he ran across the casino floor and out the front door.

“Bennett bound over a rot iron fence, and down into the roadway,” Lombardo said.

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In one body cam clip, Bennett is seeing handcuffed, face down on Flamingo Road.

The officer who detained Bennett was wearing a body camera but didn’t activate it to record video.

It’s while he was handcuffed on the street that Bennett says the officer pointed a gun to his head and used an expletive in threatening to shoot him.

Sheriff Lombardo acknowledged the inability to prove or disprove Bennett’s accusation.

“We have not been able to confirm that statement by the officer,” Lombardo said.

After being removed from suspicion as the shooter, Bennett is heard complaining to an officer about how he was treated.

“The dude told me to get down and put the gun to the back of my head, saying he was going to blow my head off,” said Bennett.

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At the conclusion of the press briefing, Lombardo praised the conduct of his officers and said his department’s internal review is complete.

The Las Vegas Police Protective Association says the videos show that Bennett wasn’t being forthright, but stopped short of accusing him of lying.

“Maybe he owes our guys an apology now that video’s out there,” says Steve Grammas, president of the LVPPA.

LVMPD says Bennett has submitted a formal complaint against the department.

Reached by phone, Bennett’s attorney John Burris says his opinion of what happened hasn’t changed.

“We view it as illegal and improper police work,” said Burris.

Bennett hasn’t decided if he’ll file a lawsuit in the matter, according to Burris.


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