The charge against Bennett came after an alleged incident following the Patriots' win in Super Bowl LI at NRG Stadium in Houston. Michael Bennett was in attendance to watch his brother, Martellus Bennett, who played at tight end with New England in the 2016-17 season. After the Patriots won, Michael Bennett pushed his way onto the field where members of the team were celebrating, according to the district attorney's office.
Security personnel at the stadium, including a 66-year-old paraplegic woman, informed Michael Bennett he had to use a different access point to reach the field. He allegedly shoved her arm and forced his way through security. Houston police said after the alleged incident that the woman sustained 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 statement. "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."
Prosecutors said they conducted an "extensive review," including viewing video obtained from a previous investigation into Tom Brady's stolen jersey from the locker room after the game. Officials also reviewed "surveillance video captured by the NFL and its associates."
A Harris County grand jury indicted Bennett in March 2018. The felony charge carried a $10,000 fine and a penalty of up to 10 years in prison.
"We dismissed this case in the interest of justice," King said. "After looking at all the evidence, this was the right thing to do."
"There were a large group of New England player family members that were authorized by credential to go down on the field after the game; Michael was one of them, but he wasn't the first one to go through the door where this incident occurred," Hardin said. "There was a large group of them rushing through, and whatever happened, it wasn't done by Michael.
"He's just simply not the person that would ever be intentionally or even recklessly causing any kind of harm to a person in a wheelchair as happened here. Whatever did happen, it was never us."
The Philadelphia Eagles traded Michael Bennett, 33, to the Patriots this off-season. He has 327 total tackles, 63.0 sacks and five passes defensed in his 10-year NFL career.