Seattle Seahawks star Michael Bennett claimed Las Vegas police officers targeted and threatened him last month as he was walking to his hotel room following the boxing match between Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather.
The Super Bowl-winning defensive end tweeted a statement Wednesday recalling his run in with the police on Aug. 26, 2017.
Bennett said he heard a sound resembling gunshots as he was walking to his hotel room after the fight. Bennett said he and “several hundred people” fled the area before officers stopped him and “pointed their guns at me for doing nothing more than simply being a black man in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Bennett wrote.
Bennett wrote an officer demanded him to lay on the ground and not move or he would “blow my f—— head off.” Bennett claimed another officer “jammed his knee into my back making it difficult for me to breathe.” Bennett was handcuffed and placed in the back of a police cruiser.
Bennett said he asked the cops “what did I do?” but he was ignored until officers ran his information and confirmed his identity. The officers released him.
“The officers’ excessive use of force was unbearable,” the defensive end wrote. “I felt helpless as I lay there on the ground handcuffed facing the real-life threat of being killed. All I could think was ‘I’m going to die for no other reason than I am black and my skin color is somehow a threat.’”
Bennett said his “life flashed before his eyes” and he worried that he would not be able to see his wife or children again.
Bennett, a friend and supporter of Colin Kaepernick, a former quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers who has made headlines for kneeling during the national anthem before NFL games, said in the statement: “This fact is unequivocally, without question why before every game, I sit during the national anthem—because equality doesn’t live in this country and no matter how much money you make, what job title you have, or how much you give, when you are seen as a “n—–,” you will be treated that way.”
Bennett concluded the “system failed me” and confirmed he hired a civil rights attorney to investigate the situation and was considering all legal options including a civil rights lawsuit for violating his constitutional rights.
Kaepernick retweeted Bennett’s statement and wrote: “This violation that happened against my Brother Michael Bennett is disgusting and unjust. I stand with Michael and I stand with the people.”
The Law Offices of John L. Burris, located in Oakland, Calif., released a statement confirming they were representing Bennett.