Back in 1950, the Japanese director Akira Kurosawa produced the epic film Rashomon. The film concerns a murder that is described by four witnesses in largely contradictory ways. The memory of each witness is colored by their own situation, their perceptions of motives, their own role in the murder, what they will and will not admit to others or even themselves.
A real life version of Rashomon is on display in Las Vegas featuring the Las Vegas Police Department and Seattle Seahawks defensive lineman Michael Bennett.
If you recall, back in late August, Michael Bennett was briefly detained by Las Vegas police after a shooting incident at a casino. This is his version of events:
Now the Las Vegas Police Department has released the body cam video of the incident and they tell a story that is factually similar but from a different point of view.
Before going on, here are a couple of videos and at tweet-stream from the police news conference. Go to 1:10 on the first video to understand the context of the police encounter: (the embed doesn’t seem to be working so the video is at this link.)
Here are the actual body cam videos:
This is the police briefing:
These are the high points. As police officers were yelling for everyone to get down, Bennett took off at a run and hurdled obstacles. This drew attention to him. Police did point guns at him but it seems fairly prudent given the totality of the circumstances. Bennett did not have an ID. The police were pretty insistent that he get in the car and he was told they were looking for a shooter. The police went out of their way to identify him at the scene rather than transporting him and released him when he was identified. They apologized.
For whatever reason, personal experience or the #TakeAKnee bullsh**, Bennett elected to attribute racial motives to the actions. That’s understandable given today’s political environment (say something positive about Trump here and see how long it is before someone calls you a cultist.) But I have no doubt whatsoever that Bennett made his allegation in good faith.
If there is a lesson from this perhaps it is that we should start approaching one another with a tad bit more grace and humility and not assigning bad motives when a person may be interpreting a set of facts differently than you are.