Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett has accused Las Vegas Metropolitan Police officers of profiling and then assaulting him when he was handcuffed August 27.
Bennett, 31, said he was in Vegas on his day off to watch the Floyd Mayweather Jr. against Conor McGregor boxing match August 26. In the early hours of the morning August 27, Bennett said he heard gunshots and started fleeing the scene with a group of people. He said he was pursued by police officers and ordered to the ground. Once face down on the ground, Bennett said he had his life threatened by the officers and was assaulted near their car.
A bystander captured the moment of Bennett’s arrest. Officers can be heard yelling and pointing what appears to be a gun at him.
“I wasn’t doing nothing,” Bennett screams. “I was here with my friends, they told us to get out, everybody ran. Are you asking a question, Sir?
The officer doesn’t respond to Bennett’s words and orders him to “put (his) hands together.”
Watch a video of the aftermath of the arrest below:
Bennett spoke out on the incident September 6, saying that officers “singled him out” of the group of people fleeing because he was “a black man in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
While he was on the ground, he said the officer placed his gun close to his head and said that if he moved he would “blow (his) f***ing head off.”
“Terrified and confused by what was taking place, a second officer came over and forcefully jammed his knee into my back making it difficult for me to breathe,” he wrote. “They then cinched the handcuffs on my wrists so fight that my fingers were numb.”
Bennett wrote in his account of the incident that he was terrified for his life and could only think about whether or not he was 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 as I thought of my girls,” he wrote. “Would I ever play with them again? Or watch them have kids? Or be able to kiss my wife again and tell her I love her?”
Bennett said he kept asking the officers what he did wrong, and reminded them that he has rights. Soon enough, he said the officers identified him as the football player he is, and let him go.
“The officers ignored my pleas and instead told me to shut up and then took me to the back of a nearby police car where I sat for what felt like and eternity until they apparently realized I was not a thug, common criminal or ordinary black man,” he wrote.
Bennett has since retained Civil Rights Attorney John Burris from Oakland. He has asked him to explore all legal options against the officers, including filing a lawsuit for the violation of his constitutional rights.
Read more about the incident by clicking below:
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