Before the start of the 2008 NFL Season for the Chicago Bears, Cedric Benson was arrested for allegedly operating a boat while intoxicated and resisting arrest. The incident occurred on May 3rd, 2008 near Austin, Texas by the Lower Colorado River Authority during a late night safety inspection. The official police report cited that Benson had failed a field sobriety test, and became hostile towards the police. The officers arrested Benson, and proceeded to use pepper-spray after he forcefully resisted arrest. Benson was later detained for the night, and released in the morning after paying a bail of $10,000-$14,000 dollars for boating while intoxicated and an additional $4,500 dollar charge for resisting arrest.
Benson has since refuted the charges against him, and stated he requested to take a follow-up field sobriety test on land after failing the initial one. Benson has further accused the officers of abusing him, stating, “I’m not handcuffed. I’m not under arrest. I’m not threatening him. I’m not pushing him. I’m not touching him. And he sprays me right in the eye.” He also asserts that officers continuously struck his ankles and feet to prevent him from walking properly. A female passenger on Benson's boat also claims to have witnessed the abuse and called her father out of fear for Benson's safety. Her fiance, also on the boat, may have dozens of pictures confirming Benson's account.
Upon hearing about the incident, Bears’ head coach Lovie Smith stated, “I haven’t had a chance to speak with Cedric yet, but anytime we’re talking about one of our players getting arrested, you’re disappointed in it,” and added “What we’re going to do from here, I’ll go back and try to get as much information as I possibly can and go from there.” If found guilty, Benson’s charges can be penalized with up to six months in jail and a $4,000 dollar fine
Here's Cedric again...arrested for suspicion of driving while intoxicated...While returning from a restaurant with his girlfriend, police claim that Benson drove through a red light, and failed a field sobriety test. Police claim he later refused to take a breathe or blood test to determine his blood alcohol level. Police proceeded to detain Benson, and later released him on bond. Benson has denied the police officers' allegations, and insisted that he 'aced' the field test. Bears general manager jerry Angelo commented, “It’s unfortunate. Disappointment is too much an often used word when we’re talking about Cedric. The No. 1 lesson for every player is protect your job. We’re all held accountable for our actions. I’m not going to say any more than that until we know for sure what the facts are.” On the following Monday, Benson was waived from the Bears. Angelo commented on the release, stating ”Cedric displayed a pattern of behavior we will not tolerate... As I said this past weekend, you have to protect your job. Everyone in this organization is held accountable for their actions."
Benson was later ordered by a County Judge to put a built-in ignition interlock breathalyzer in his car. He was also told to start drug counseling classes. Benson was cleared of all charges in September, after appearing before two grand juries in Travis County.