Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett says two yet-to-be-identified Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department officers used excessive force against him in an incident that took place on August 27, after the Conor McGregor–Floyd Mayweather fight.
In a statement, which was posted to his Twitter account Wednesday morning, Bennett writes that several gunshot-like sounds rang out while he was walking in a crowd toward his hotel following the fight, and that an officer singled him out in the ensuing confusion. This officer ordered him to the ground, and then, Bennett says, “placed his gun near my head and warned me that if I moved he would ‘blow my fucking head off.’”
Bennett says that another officer soon came over and jammed a knee into his back. Per Bennett, the two officers then cuffed him, forcing Bennett’s fingers to go numb.
TMZ obtained a 30-second video of the incident that appears to show an officer cuffing Bennett as Bennett lies on the ground.
Bennett called the use of force “unbearable,” saying he thought his life was in danger. He has retained civil rights attorney John Burris, who put forth his own statement Wednesday calling for the Vegas police department “to be transparent by immediately identifying the involved officers and releasing the Officers’ body camera videos of the incident,” to explore his legal options.
Bennett has been one of the league’s most prominent player activists in recent years, and he spoke out about the Charlottesville protests last month. The nine-year NFL veteran sat during the national anthem in the preseason and has spoken publicly about how he believes white players need to also step up in “the fight” for racial justice. In his statement, Bennett referenced Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, and Charleena Lyles.
Burris says that Bennett was unarmed in this incident and did nothing wrong, and that he was picked out of a crowd of “several hundred” for doing “nothing more than simply being a black man in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department has yet to offer a comment.