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Las Vegas NAACP president is ‘thankful Michael Bennett is alive’

(Associated Press)

The president of the NACCP in Las Vegas is calling out the police department for detaining Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett and comparing his treatment to that of Tashii Brown.

“I am thankful that Michael Bennett is alive,” Roxann McCoy told KIRO Radio’s Zak Burns.

Surveillance footage shows an officer shocking Brown with a stun gun outside of a casino  and placing him in an unauthorized chokehold for more than a minute. Brown died at the scene. Officer Kenneth Lopera was suspended without pay and faces charges in the May death.

On Tuesday at Seahawks headquarters, Bennett told the media — after tweeting about it earlier — that an officer in Las Vegas pointed a gun at his head and told him he would “blow my (expletive) head off” why the Seahawk lay pinned to the street outside a casino. Bennett said he wasn’t the only one running through the casino on Aug. 26 after a report of shots fired. He said he was singled out.

Detective Steve Grammas with the Police Protective Association said Bennett wasn’t singled out and wrote a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell asking that Bennett’s claims be investigated by the league. Goodell posted support of Bennett on social media, saying he represents the best of the NFL. A league spokesperson said an investigation is unnecessary as there was no violation of the league’s personal conduct policy.

McCoy said the African American community doesn’t trust the Las Vegas police department because of the lack of transparency and a history of brutality. She thinks the department believes it’s doing better after fixing issues spelled out by the Department of Justice, but she said there remains harassment, racial profiling, and a lack of true transparency.

“The relationship between the African American community and the police department is not very good at all,” McCoy said. “There’s a huge level of distrust.”

 

McCoy said she wants to know why the officer’s body camera wasn’t activated on Aug. 26. Meanwhile, she’s just thankful that Bennett is OK.

“There are countless individuals that look just like Michael Bennett that do not have the notoriety or the fame in order to shed light on the things that take place here on a regular basis,” McCoy said. “I am in a position to hopefully be able to ask those same questions and stand with them and support them for transparency, and some accountability, and responsibility.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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