Eagles defensive end Michael Bennett was taken into custody Monday in Houston after his first court appearance since being indicted by a grand jury in Harris County, Texas, for allegedly injuring a 66-year-old paraplegic woman after Super Bowl 51 in February 2017.
Bennett's bond was set at $10,000 and he was issued a no-contact order by Judge Robert Johnson in the 177th Criminal Court before Bennett was led away in handcuffs, according to local media reports (via USA Today).
Booking photo of Michael Bennett courtesy of Harris County Sheriff's Office. pic.twitter.com/tdwUNWmdt2
— Houston Police (@houstonpolice) March 26, 2018
— Miya Shay (@ABC13Miya) March 26, 2018
Bennett surrendered to authorities after prosecutors on Friday announced that he faces a single felony charge of injury to the elderly, which carries a maximum of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Prosecutors have to prove that Bennett "intentionally and knowingly" caused "bodily injury to a person 65 years or older."
The woman was working at NRG Stadium controlling access to the field when Bennett allegedly tried to force his way through security and onto the field after the Patriots' Super Bowl win over the Falcons in Houston. Bennett was a spectator watching his brother Martellus play for the Patriots.
The DA's report notes that NRG security personnel told Bennett he had to use a different entrance to access the field, but he instead pushed through them.
"Mr. Bennett may think that because he's an NFL player and some time passed ... he may have thought that, No. 1, rules don't apply to him, No. 2, he doesn't have to respect the dignity of a paraplegic woman who's trying to earn a living," Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said Friday.
The Houston police department said the indictment took so long because they prioritized more significant cases before this, according to a report from Zach Berman of Philly.com. The report also noted there is no video of the incident, but a police officer witnessed it.
The Eagles released a statement saying the team is aware of the situation and is gathering more information, but they will not further comment at this time.
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
"My initial reaction is that everyone needs to calm down a little bit," said Rusty Hardin, Bennett's attorney. "He's a professional football player who is very respected for his work on social issues. I'm going to take my time to find out what occurred."