While attending the Floyd Mayweather–Conor McGregor fight in Las Vegas, Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett said he was targeted and assaulted by police officers.
In a post on Twitter, the 6-foot-4, 274 pound NFL star wrote after hearing gunshots on the street, he and several other people around him ran.
Bennett wrote he was stopped by Las Vegas police, forced on the ground, handcuffed, had guns pointed at his head and was verbally assaulted by police officers.
“The officers excessive force was unbearable. I felt helpless as I lay on the ground handcuff facing the real time threat of being killed,” Bennett wrote. “All I could think of was ‘I’m going to die for no other reason than I am black and my skin color is somehow a threat.’ My life flashed before my eyes and I thought of my girls. ‘What if I ever see them again?’ ”
Warning: Bennett’s statement below contains profanity.
Bennett wrote he kept asking the officers what he had done, but they ignored his concerns.
Once Bennett's identity was confirmed, he was released, but “without any legitimate justification for the officers abusive conduct.”
Bennett wrote he has retained Oakland civil rights attorney John Burris to investigate explore his legal options. Bennett also wrote he will be filing a civil rights lawsuit for the violation of his constitutional rights.
Bennett is one of several NFL stars that embraced last seasons’ National Anthem protest to call attention to police brutality and racism led by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Bennett wrote his personal experience in Las Vegas confirms why he is participating in these protests and that there is a problem in America that cannot be denied.
“The fact is unequivocally, without question why before every game, I sit during the national anthem– because the quality 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 (explicative), you will be treated that way.”
On Tuesday afternoon, Kaepernick reposted Bennett’s statement on Twitter 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.”
Bennett’s brother and Green Bay Packers tight end Martellus took to Instagram on Wednesday afternoon recalling that night in Las Vegas.
“The emotion and the thought of almost losing you because of the way you look left me in one of the saddest places ever... I'm sad that you have to share this type of experience with the world but at the same time I'm happy that it happened to you and you lived to talk about it because we all know you're going to talk about it,” Bennett wrote in part.