Seahawks’ Michael Bennett Shares His Terrifying Police EncounterThe defensive end describes a recent interaction with Las Vegas police officers that he says violated his constitutional rights.
Many Americans are gearing up for another exciting football season, but tensions off the field are on the rise.
Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett took to Twitter on Wednesday with a post about an encounter with Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department officers that left him feeling that the “system failed” him.
He describes how, after attending the Aug. 26 Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor boxing match in Las Vegas, he was heading back to his hotel when gunshots rang out. “Like many of the people in the area I ran away from the sound, looking for safety,” he writes, saying that he was immediately targeted by police officers “for doing nothing more than simply being a black man in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
— Michael Bennett (@mosesbread72) September 6, 2017
Since Bennett shared his experience on Twitter, TMZ has released video of the police interaction. The footage shows Bennett pinned to the ground and being handcuffed by an officer.
Bennett’s brother, Martellus Bennett, noted on Instagram that he received a call from Michael shortly after the incident. “[T]he call that night was a scary one,” Martellus writes. “I could hear the fear in your voice.”
“I have always had a strong conviction that protesting or standing up for justice is just simply, the right thing to do,” Michael Bennett notes in his post, adding that he has begun to sit during the national anthem (something he plans to do all season) because “equality doesn’t live in this country.”
Football player Colin Kaepernick, who generated headlines for his refusal to stand during the national anthem in 2016, shared his support for Bennett.
“This violation that happened against my Brother Michael Bennett is disgusting and unjust,” he tweeted. “I stand with Michael and I stand with the people.”
While some football fans were quick to criticize Bennett (as many did to Kaepernick during his fight for social justice), numerous other players, sports enthusiasts and celebrities voiced support on Twitter:
.@mosesbread72 Vegas experience is why we will relentlessly pursue equality and reform. We stand with you bro ✊?#playerscoalition https://t.co/8JovwNPvlk
— Malcolm Jenkins (@MalcolmJenkins) September 6, 2017
#BlackLivesMatter: I stand with Michael Bennett. And I stand with the people. We’re in this together brother. https://t.co/HR4XknWJV3
— COMMON (@common) September 6, 2017
Good luck, @mosesbread72. This is an American outrage. https://t.co/UB1VFFaI4E
— Peter King (@SI_PeterKing) September 6, 2017
Somewhere, colleagues I once respected are busily composing “Does Michael Bennett have any proof it happened?” tweets.
— Mike Tanier ? (@MikeTanier) September 6, 2017
Bennett notes at the end of his post that he has retained civil rights attorney John Burris to look into his legal options, including potentially filing a civil rights lawsuit against the Las Vegas police department because the officers, according to Bennett, used excessive force without explanation. The department has yet to comment.
“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 says. “The system failed me. I can only imagine what Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, and Charleena Lyles felt.”Wait, before you go…
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