Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Michael Bennett has been indicted for a felony charge of injury of the elderly in Houston’s Harris County, and a warrant is out for his arrest. He would show up to a Houston courtroom on Monday, where his bail was set at $10,000, according to NJ.com’s Zack Rosenblatt.
Bennett allegedly injured a 66-year-old paraplegic who was working at NRG Stadium during Super Bowl LI. The employee was controlling access to the field for the game.
The incident allegedly happened after the game, when the Patriots had completed their comeback and won the Super Bowl. Bennett’s brother, Martellus, was a tight end for the Patriots in the game.
Immediately following the game, Bennett shoved his way on to the field where players were gathering to celebrate.
NRG Security personnel, including the 66-year-old disabled victim, told Bennett he had to use a different entrance for field access.
Instead, he pushed through them, including the elderly woman who was part of the security team.
The charge, injury to the elderly, includes intentionally and knowingly, causing bodily injury to a person 65 years or older.
The Houston Police Chief, Art Acevedo released a statement on Bennett:
Acevedo said during a press conference Friday that Bennett also pushed a woman and a man before pushing the paraplegic woman, who was in a motorized wheelchair. She suffered a sprained shoulder, per Acevedo.
Acevedo also said that Bennett said “fuck you” to a police officer who confronted him and was working security. The officer recognized Bennett, and didn’t feel that he posed a threat, so he tended to the paraplegic woman.
The officer took an incident report that night, but no photos or videos from the incident exist. It was explained that it took so long because of resources and priorities, and had more serious crimes to focus on first.
Acevedo also said, “We believe he might have been drinking that day.” He added it didn’t excuse his actions.
Bennett has not told his side of the story yet, but his lawyer made it clear that they refute the officer’s account:
Just said on @nflnetwork: I spoke with Michael Bennett’s attorney, Rusty Hardin, who had strong words. “He didn’t do this. He never touched anybody. And it is so totally contrary to his entire life and career” to suggest he would injure an elderly paraplegic woman.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) March 26, 2018
The Philadelphia Eagles also released a statement on the matter:
Eagles Statement on Michael Bennett: We are aware of the situation involving Michael Bennett and are in the process of gathering more information. Because this is an ongoing legal matter, we will have no further comment at this time.— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) March 23, 2018
According to the Harris County release, prosecutors were working with Bennett’s counsel regarding his surrender. One of Bennett’s attorneys, Rusty Hardin, told Zach Berman of Philly.com that Bennett would surrender when he was back in the continental United States. According to Hardin, that would occur on Monday, reports USA Today — and it did.
Monday, Eagles executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman chimed in on the situation:
#Eagles Howie Roseman on the Michael Bennett situation: "I would say we did not know about it before Friday."— Zack Rosenblatt (@ZackBlatt) March 26, 2018
Howie Roseman says Eagles have a lot of trust in Seahawks GM John Schneider and they don’t feel like the Seahawks withheld info from them re: Michael Bennett.— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) March 26, 2018
Bennett was traded from the Seahawks to the Eagles this offseason after spending the past five seasons of his career in Seattle.