Prosecutors in Houston announced Wednesday they are dismissing their case against defensive end Michael Bennett, who had been accused of shoving an elderly, wheelchair-bound NRG Stadium worker during Super Bowl LI.
“We dismissed this case in the interest of justice,” said Vivian King, chief of staff of the Harris County District Attorney’s Office. “After looking at all the evidence, this was the right thing to do.”
Bennett, now with the New England Patriots, had been facing a felony charge of injury to the elderly, punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
The 6-foot-4, 275-pound lineman was accused of pushing and injuring a 66-year-old paraplegic woman as he tried to get onto the field to celebrate with his brother, former Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett, after New England defeated Atlanta on Feb. 5, 2017.
Houston police chief Art Acevedo called Bennett “morally bankrupt” when the charges were announced in March 2018.
“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.
Bennett’s attorney, Rusty Hardin, predicted a year ago that the case would ultimately be thrown out.
“There was no fighting, there was no pushing,” Hardin said. “The entire thing is ludicrous. That’s what I think we’ll find when it’s all over.”
Bennett, a member of the Seattle Seahawks at the time of the alleged incident, played for the Philadelphia Eagles last season and was traded to the Patriots last month.
—Field Level Media