Harris County prosecutors have moved to dismiss a felony charge of injury to the elderly against veteran defensive end Michael Bennett that is related to an alleged incident after Super Bowl LI at NRG Stadium in Houston.
Bennett was a spectator in Houston to watch his brother, Martellus, then a player for the New England Patriots, on Feb. 5, 2017. After the game, Michael Bennett allegedly shoved his way onto the field, where players were gathering to celebrate, according to the district attorney's office. NRG security personnel, including a 66-year-old paraplegic woman, told Bennett he had to use a different entrance for field access, but he allegedly pushed her arm as he made his way through them.
Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said at the time that the woman suffered a sprained shoulder.
"After looking at all the evidence and applying the law, a crime could not be proven beyond a reasonable doubt," Harris County District Attorney's Office chief of staff Vivian King said in a release Wednesday. "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."
Officials said they conducted "an extensive review" that included video obtained in a prior investigation into the theft of Tom Brady's jersey from the locker room after the game as well as surveillance video captured by the NFL and its associates.
Bennett was indicted by a grand jury in March 2018. The felony charge carried a penalty of up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
"We dismissed this case in the interest of justice," King said. "After looking at all the evidence, this was the right thing to do."
Bennett's attorney, Rusty Hardin, called the incident "a total misunderstanding'' and said that whatever happened to the woman was "not done by Michael.''
"There were numerous relatives of New England players who were authorized to be down on the field after the game that went through a door this lady was guarding,'' Hardin said. "And whatever happened to her, whatever type of event occurred, it was not done by Michael, and this dismissal confirms that.''
Bennett, 33, was traded from the Philadelphia Eagles to the Patriots this offseason.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.