Early on Wednesday morning Seattle Seahawks player Michael Bennett posted a note on his Twitter alleging that police officers in Las Vegas detained him, used excessive force and held a gun to his head following the Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor fight on August 26.
In the letter, shared with the word "equality," he wrote that he was detained "for doing nothing more than simply being a black man in the wrong place at the wrong time" after sounds that may have been gunshots went off in the area. Bennett wrote that he, like others in the area, ran away from the sounds but that the officers ordered him to lay down on the ground, held a knee to his back (making it difficult for him to breathe) and handcuffed him tight enough for his fingers to go numb.
He also alleged that, while he continually asked the officers why he was being detained and reminded them of his rights, one of the officers held a gun to his head and threatened "to blow [his] f------ head off" if he moved.
(Editor's Note: Bennett's letter does contain profanity.)
— Michael Bennett (@mosesbread72) September 6, 2017
Bennett wrote that the "excessive use of force was unbearable" and described the fear and desperation of his situation.
"I felt helpless as I lay there on the ground handcuffed facing the real-life 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 as I thought of my girls. 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 that, ultimately, the officers realized that he was a famous professional football player after he was left sitting in their police car for what he said "felt like an eternity." He said he was ultimately released, but not given any legitimate justification for the officer's behavior.
Bennett, in the past, has joined other players (like Colin Kaepernick, who shared Bennett's tweet in solidarity), in sitting or kneeling during the national anthem before games in protest of police brutality. He wrote that the situation represents "unequivocally, without question" why he performs that act of protest — and why he will continue to do so.
"I have always held a strong conviction that protesting or standing up for justice is just simply the right thing to do," Bennett wrote. "...The system failed me. I can only imagine what Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, and Charlene Lyles felt."
Bennett adds that he has retained a Civil Rights Attorney to explore his legal options that include filing a civil rights lawsuit over the incident.
We will continue to update this story as more develops...