Running for your life is yet one more thing that a Black man in America can’t do without being accosted by police. In a move that should surprise no one, Las Vegas Sheriff Joe Lombardo announced that he won’t discipline the officers who Michael Bennett accused of racially-profiling him and using excessive force to subdue him. The incident took place in the hours following the Conor McGregor – Floyd Mayweather Jr. fight on August 26. Lombardo said that the body camera footage he released refutes Bennett’s claims.
“I believe they acted appropriately and professionally,” Lombardo said.
‘A Reasonable-Suspicion Stop’
The sheriff went on to explain why Bennett might have felt slighted by the incident since he had done nothing wrong. However, Lombardo maintains that his officers were just doing their jobs.
“Mr. Bennett has a valid perspective as a person who experienced a reasonable-suspicion stop for a felony crime,” Lombardo said as reported by The Associated Press. “Those who experience such a stop, especially when they have not committed a crime, are not likely to feel good about it.”
The problem here is that the still-unnamed officer, who allegedly pointed his gun at Bennett’s head and threatened to ‘blow his f*cking head off,’ never turned on his body camera. His failure to do so is a violation of department policy. Footage of the threats plus the verbal and physical abuse were only partially-captured by witness cell phone video.
‘Big Black Man Running’
John Burris, Bennett’s attorney, said that ruling on the matter without considering all of the available footage is self-serving. Lombardo has refused to release hotel security video and other recordings taken the night of the encounter. His client was acting reasonably but, because he is a Black man, he was treated unfairly.
“He was not acting improperly,” Burris said according to 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 this big Black man running. He was running like everyone else, trying to get away.”
— CNN (@CNN) September 28, 2017
‘Change The Culture’
Bennett will continue to pursue his case against the Las Vegas Police Department for violation of his civil rights. He is more convinced than ever that protesting against police brutality is absolutely the right thing to do. He told CNN that the solution starts with changing our hearts and seeing people as human beings first.
“I would like to challenge every American who is watching this show to treat people better,” Bennett said during a CNN town hall meeting. “That’s really what it’s about. It’s about treating people like human beings. That’s the first step. The first step is to recognize and see somebody as an equal being when you recognize them… This is a peaceful protest. We are challenging people spiritually, not physically. Spiritually to change the way you have been doing. Change the culture.”
This is Michael Bennett just today. Doesn’t look like a man who wants to disrespect the military to me. Was raised by military family even pic.twitter.com/zGT8N67FMV
— 206 tweets (@206_cuts) September 27, 2017