Super Bowl shoving case against NFL star headed for dismissal

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Wednesday, April 3, 2019
NFL player, Michael Bennett charged with injury to the elderly in incident at Super Bowl in Houston
NFL player, Michael Bennett charged with injury to the elderly in incident at Super Bowl in Houston

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The case against a New England Patriots player accused of shoving a wheelchair-bound NRG Stadium worker during the Super Bowl two years ago is headed for dismissal.

On Wednesday, the Harris County District Attorney's Office said prosecutors moved to dismiss the case against Michael Bennett, who was indicted nearly a year ago on a felony charge of injury of the elderly.

In a statement, the district attorney's office said an extensive review was made involving several video clips, including footage used to investigate the theft of Tom Brady's jersey.

"After looking at all the evidence and applying the law, a crime could not be proven beyond a reasonable doubt," said Vivian King, the office's chief of staff. "There was probable cause to warrant a charge initially, but after a careful review of all the pre-charge and post-charge evidence, we cannot prove this case beyond a reasonable doubt."

King continued, "We dismissed this case in the interest of justice. After looking at all the evidence, this was the right thing to do."

The stadium worker accused Bennett of pushing her arm as he made his way through the crowd after the game. Bennett, who was a player with the Seattle Seahawks at the time, was a spectator and in town to watch his brother, a player for the Patriots.

Bennett was told he had to use a different entrance for field access.

Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo talks about the indictment of Michael Bennett.

Instead, he pushed through them, including the elderly woman who was part of the security team, police said.

During a news conference when the charges were announced, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo added Bennett allegedly told the people he had pushed, "You all must know who I am and I can own this (expletive). I'm going down to the field, whether you like it or not."

Acevedo called Bennett "morally bankrupt" for pushing. Police said the disabled woman suffered a sprained shoulder when she was allegedly pushed by Bennett, hitting the back of her 800-pound, motorized wheelchair.

"Mr. Bennett may think that because he's an NFL player and some time passed ... he may have thought that, number one, rules don't apply to him, number two, he doesn't have to respect the dignity of a paraplegic woman who's trying to earn a living," Acevedo said at a news conference.

Acevedo said a detective did not actively start working the case until September because the police department had prioritized more serious cases.

The charge, injury to the elderly, includes intentionally and knowingly, causing bodily injury to a person 65 years or older.

It carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Bennett, who was a member of the Philadelphia Eagles last season, was traded to New England earlier this year.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.