BY SPNW Staff 11:43AM 09/06/2017

Bennett alleges assault against Las Vegas police

Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett said he was assaulted by Las Vegas police outside the Mayweather-McGregor fight and plans to explore his legal options.

Seahawks DE Michael Bennett says he was assaulted by Las Vegas police after attending a fight in that city last month. / Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest

Seahawks DL Michael Bennett posted to his Twitter account Wednesday news that Las Vegas police used excessive force against him after he attended the Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor fight Aug. 26. Bennett, who claimed that he was held at gunpoint and assaulted, said in a separate press release that he has hired Oakland civil rights attorney John Burris and is considering filing a federal lawsuit against the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.

Bennett’s statement said in part:

“After the fight while heading back to my hotel several hundred people heard what sounded like gunshots. 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.

“A police officer ordered me to get on the ground. As I laid on the ground, complying with his commands not to move, he placed his gun near my head and warned me that if I moved he would ‘blow my f——  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. Then they cinched the handcuffs on my wrists so tight that my fingers went numb.

“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.'”

Bennett explained that he was eventually placed in the back of a police car “for what seemed like an eternity” while police attempted to verify Bennett’s identity.

“They apparently realized I was not a thug, common criminal or ordinary black man but Michael Bennett a famous professional football player. After confirming my identity I was ultimately released without any legitimate justification for the officers’ abusive conduct.”

Bennett said that he is asking the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department to release the names of the police officers involved as well as body camera videos of the incident.

Burris released a statement saying that Bennett “was unarmed, sober and not involved in any altercations or dispute at the time the police officers arrested and threatened to use deadly force against him.”

The 31-year-old Bennett said the incident is an example of the racial inequality that he is protesting by sitting for the national anthem. Bennett sat through the anthem for all four of the Seahawks’ preseason games and has said he will continue doing so during the regular season that begins Sunday.

Former San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick offered his support for Bennett via Twitter, writing, “This violation that happened against my Brother Michael Bennett is disgusting and unjust. I stand with Michael and I stand with the people.”

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department issued a statement Wednesday saying the Bennett matter is “under investigation” and advised to “reserve judgment.” A Twitter post said a statement would be forthcoming.


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YourThoughts

  • Rainier

    Why did this story take almost two weeks to be reported?

    • Steed

      Probably because TMZ just got the video, and or Bennett just now decided to talk about it.

      • Rainier

        I don’t know…given Bennett’s activism you would think he would make a statement about the incident the next day, especially if it went down in the manner he describes. Why was he by himself and not with other male companions?

        • Steed

          According to his statement he was consulting with his lawyers. He didn’t make a statement until he wanted to, apparently.

          Why he was by himself is irrelevant.

    • tor5

      That’s a legit question. And years ago it would have been hard for me to believe Bennett’s version of events. But, unfortunately, too many filmed encounters look just like this. And the fact that Bennett has a pretty good reputation in Seattle of being a man of honesty and good character, whatever you think of his activism.

  • DAWG

    It’s very important the press continue to report these events and follow them up grounded in facts and solid narrative. Long gone are the days when these incidents go by unnoticed or unreported. No sensationalism or heated emotions. Facts. Law. And justice for all.

  • roger_lococco

    How convenient.

    • Effzee

      Why are you here? Go away demonic, racist, gaslighting troll.

  • Steed

    This doesn’t seem like it’s going to amount to much. A crowd of people in the streets, shots fired, people ran, the cops handcuffed a bunch of people, including Bennett, then eventually let them go. Unless he was the only guy handcuffed, I don’t see what case he has.
    Other than they were really rough and rude with him, but that’s just how they do it. They get you on the ground and jam their knees into your back, then tell you to stop resisting when you squirm as if you have a knee jammed into your back. So maybe he can get them to apologize for that.

    • tor5

      Really? For the crime of “running” you get a gun to the head, cuffs, knee in the back? I appreciate cops have tough jobs, but if Bennett’s account is accurate, I’m not sure you can write this off as “how they do it.” Awaiting more info…

      • Steed

        I agree they shouldn’t do it like that. But being handcuffed like that is just how they do it.

        The Police officer was afraid for his life, didn’t know if Bennett might be violent or dangerous, since he ran, so he had to cuff him like that to protect himself. Is how the story usually goes.

        • notaboomer

          just how they do it? bs

          “A police officer ordered me to get on the ground. As I laid on the ground, complying with his commands not to move, he placed his gun near my head and warned me that if I moved he would ‘blow my f—— 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. Then they cinched the handcuffs on my wrists so tight that my fingers went numb.

          • Steed

            That is all too often how they do it, and it is BS.

            The police seem to want to punish people when they make an arrest. They almost always get away with it.

  • notaboomer

    Bennett alleges assault against Las Vegas police

    alleges? really? https://deadspin.com/video-shows-michael-bennett-being-cuffed-by-las-vegas-p-1800780801

  • notaboomer

    Although body-cam footage from that night was shown, the arresting officer’s body-cam was not activated.

    Those body cams are great aren’t they?

    The undersheriff says that they are in the process of reviewing footage
    from 126 cameras and an investigation into the incident has been opened.
    He also pointed out that the officer that placed Bennett in handcuffs
    is Latino.

    Latino defense to racial profiling always a winner. I get the impression from Bennett’s statement that the cuffing cop was not the gun-to-the-head cop.

    http://www.ktnv.com/news/video-seahawks-player-accuses-las-vegas-police-of-racial-profiling-abuse

  • DAWG

    If you are an individual of color, your chances of being the target of unnecessary police attention is far higher than if you are white. Simple fact. Get those body cameras and make it a requirement they are always in operation when dealing with the public. The law is slow but it will eventually catch up to the demands of our society.