Seahawks defensive lineman Michael Bennett says he is considering filing a civil rights lawsuit after being detained by Las Vegas police following the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Conor McGregor fight last month.
In a note addressed “Dear World” that Bennett posted on social media Wednesday, he said 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” following the Aug. 26 mega-fight at T-Mobile Arena.
Bennett said he was leaving the arena to return to his hotel when he and “several hundred” others in the area heard what sounded like gunshots and began to run for safety. He said a police officer in the area stopped him and ordered him to get on the ground, then put a gun to his head and explicitly threatened to shoot him if he moved. Bennett said a second officer then “forcefully jammed his knee into my back” as they handcuffed him.
He said he repeatedly asked officers what he had done and they told him to shut up. They eventually released him after confirming his identity but “without any legitimate justification for the officers’ abusive conduct.”
Bennett sat on the bench during the national anthem before the Seahawks’ games this preseason and said he plans to do so throughout the regular season while continuing to “use my platform to be able to speak on injustice.” He said in the statement he released Wednesday that the Las Vegas incident “unequivocally” reinforced his belief that “equality doesn’t live in this country.”
“The system failed me,” he wrote. “I can only imagine what Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, and Charleena Lyles felt.”
Read the full recounting of the story from Bennett here. Note that it contains language some may find offensive.
Colin Kaepernick reposted Bennett’s note on his own Twitter account and called the officers’ actions “disgusting and unjust. I stand with Michael and I stand with the people.”