NFL player Michael Bennett says he was targeted by police for ‘simply being a black man’

Posted at 2:03 PM, Sep 06, 2017

SEATTLE -- Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett says he went through a terrifying experience with Las Vegas police after the Mayweather-McGregor fight, according to KCPQ.

Bennett posted a letter on Twitter on Wednesday saying police officers targeted him and used excessive force during a chaotic situation on Aug. 26.

Bennett says he was leaving the fight and heading back to the hotel (on his day off) when people heard what sounded like shots fired.

"Like many of the people in the area I ran away from the sound, looking for safety. Las Vegas police officers singled me out 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 says an officer ordered him to the ground, placed a gun near his head and told him that if he moved the officer would "blow (his) f***ing head off."

Here's Bennett's account of what happened next:

"The officers' excessive use of force was unbearable. I felt helpless as I lay there on the ground handcuffed facing the real-life threat of being killed. 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 says he kept asking the officers what he had done and reminding them that he had rights. The officers took him to a police car, confirmed his identity as a famous football player and eventually released him.

"I have always held a strong conviction that protesting or standing up for justice is just simply, the right thing to do. 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.

"The system failed me. I can only imagine what Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice and Charleena Lyles felt.

"I have retained Oakland Civil Rights Attorney John Burris to investigate and explore all my legal options including filing a civil rights lawsuit for the violation of my constitutional rights."

TMZ Sports posted video of the incident (Editor's note: Video contains profane language):

Police Officer Jacinto Rivera says Las Vegas police are checking for video and written reports but can't immediately verify Bennett's account.

Police later attributed the report of gunfire to the sound of velvet rope stands falling over.

The City of Las Vegas said it does not oversee the department and was "awaiting answers."

Players are reacting to Bennett's story.