NFL star Michael Bennett, a defensive end who was acquired by the Philadelphia Eagles earlier this month, has been indicted by a grand jury for injuring a paraplegic woman.
Bennett is accused of shoving the woman while trying to rush onto the field to celebrate with his brother during last year’s Super Bowl, KPRC-TV reported.
The paraplegic woman suffered a sprained shoulder when Bennett allegedly pushed the back of her 800-pound, motorized wheelchair.
According to The Blaze, “prosecutors alleged Bennet pushed through security personnel to reach the field, and that included the 66-year-old woman in a wheelchair. A stadium employee reportedly told Bennett to use a different entrance to the field. He also allegedly pushed another woman and ignored a request by a police officer to stop, the report stated.”
As Bennett forced his way through the crowd, he reportedly said to the people he 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.”
Bennett was charged with injury of the elderly, a felony that carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
At a news conference, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo called Bennett “morally bankrupt” for his alleged actions. He also finds it offensive that Bennett “would think that it’s OK to treat people like this.”
He added: “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.”
A video taken by Bennett’s sister and posted on Twitter shows the two running onto the field to greet their brother, Martellus Bennett, who plays for the New England Patriots. The clip shows no indication that anyone tried to stop them.
The indictment prompted a warrant to be issued for Bennett’s arrest. Prosecutors are reportedly working with Bennett’s attorney regarding his surrender.
The Eagles issued the following statement: “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.”
The Eagles acquired Bennett from the Seattle Seahawks, “where he became one of the dominant defensive linemen in the game,” KPRC reported.
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(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)