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LAS VEGAS (AP) — Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett accused Las Vegas police on Wednesday of racially motivated excessive force, saying he was threatened at gunpoint and handcuffed following a report of gunshots at an after-hours club at a casino-hotel.

Police said they’re investigating, but that Bennett failed to stop for officers searching a crowded casino for what they believed to be an active shooter just hours after the Aug. 26 boxing match between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Conor McGregor.

“I believe this case will become completely clear as all the available video is reviewed for evidentiary purposes,” Clark County Undersheriff Kevin McMahill told reporters. “We’ll see very, very clearly exactly what happened on this incident.”

Bennett said on a Twitter message titled “Dear World,” that police “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.”

McMahill aired a lengthy video clip taken from a police sergeant’s body camera during a search of the Cromwell casino after a report of gunfire at the Drai’s nightclub. But he said at least one officer who encountered Bennett didn’t have his body camera on at the time.

Bennett isn’t seen until the very end of the clip — being handcuffed as he lies prone in a traffic lane on Las Vegas Boulevard.

McMahill said that with an internal affairs investigation just beginning, he saw “no evidence that race played any role in this incident.”

Police and casino officials later attributed the report of gunfire to the sharp sound of velvet rope stands being knocked to a tile floor.

Bennett, during a brief appearance Wednesday at the Seahawks’ practice facility in Renton, Washington, described the incident as “traumatic” but declined to go into specifics about it.

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A post shared by Michael Bennett (@mosesbread72) on

“It’s a traumatic experience for me, my family and it sucks that the country that we live in now sometimes you get profiled for the color of your skin,” Bennett said. “Do I think every police officer is bad? No, I don’t believe that. Do I believe there are some people out there that judge people by the color of their skin? I do believe that.”

“I’m just trying to focus on the game, focus on the task at hand and let everything take care of itself,” Bennett said. “But like I said this is a tragic situation for me, I hate to be up here at this moment. There is a lot of people who experienced what I experienced at that point, at that moment and they’re not here to tell their story.”

Bennett, a 6-foot-4 defensive end who has been a leader of the national anthem protests started by former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick , said he was among several hundred people running away.

In his Twitter message, Bennett said he was handcuffed face-down on the ground after an officer held a gun to his head saying he would blow his head off if he moved.

“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,'” he wrote. He said he thought of his wife and children.

Bennett said he was taken to the back of a police car “until they apparently realized I was not a thug, common criminal or ordinary black man but Michael Bennett a famous professional football player.” He was released without charges.

Las Vegas police Officer Jacinto Rivera said police were checking for casino and police body camera video and written reports. He said the department couldn’t immediately verify Bennett’s account or identify the officers involved.

A video posted by celebrity news site TMZ shows a view from a balcony as a police officer kneels on the back of a man who looks like Bennett. Protests are heard, including, “I wasn’t doing nothing,” and, “I was here with my friends. They told us to get out and everybody ran.”

Bennett’s attorney, John Burris in Oakland, California, confirmed the words were Bennett’s. The attorney said he believed the 30-second video clip showed some of how his client was treated.

“We think there was an unlawful detention and the use of excessive force, with a gun put to his head,” Burris told The Associated Press. “He was just in the crowd. He doesn’t drink or do drugs. He wasn’t in a fight. He wasn’t resisting. He did nothing more or less than anyone in the crowd.”

Burris said Bennett waited to make public his account of the incident until after Burris contacted Las Vegas police last week by letter and email, seeking police records of Bennett’s detention.

McMahill said he had no knowledge of any letter or email last week from Bennett or Burris.

Bennett’s brother, Martellus Bennett, who plays for the Green Bay Packers, posted an Instagram account of a telephone call he said he got from Michael Bennett. He said he heard fear in his brother’s voice.

“The emotion and the thought of almost losing you because of the way you look left me in one of the saddest places ever,” Martellus Bennett said.

Michael Bennett has been one of the most outspoken pro athletes on numerous social issues. Last month, he held a benefit for the family of a pregnant black woman who was fatally shot by two white Seattle police officers in June. Police said the woman threatened the officers with at least one knife after calling 911 to report that someone had broken into her apartment and stolen video-game consoles.

Advocates on Wednesday cited Bennett’s treatment by police as an illustration of troubled race relations in America.

Patrisse Cullors, a co-founder of the Black Lives Matter advocacy group, called it “a testament to the police violence targeting black people in the United States.”

Cullors endorsed an online petition calling for Las Vegas police to release information about what she called an assault on Bennett.


AP Sports Writer Tim Booth in Seattle contributed to this report.

PHOTO: Michael Bennett Instagram

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21 thoughts on “Seahawks Bennett Says He Feared For His Life In Vegas Arrest

  1. Apparently he was fearing for his life when the sounds of gunshots were heard prior to the police even arriving or why was he crouched down hiding behind a slot machine when police encountered him

  2. leadjustone on said:

    A large black man literally ran for his life, and almost didn’t live to tell it. Any fool can try to justify what happened by spouting the usual racist dogma. Bottom line, three beautiful children almost lost their dad, and a wife was almost widowed; for absolutely no justifiable reason. This crap needs to stop!

  3. Dr. Larry on said:

    Blacks commit crime at a rate 10 greater than whites or hispanics. A large black man hiding behind a slot then running from the police with his pants around his thighs is going to naturally appear as a prime suspect to anyone. Don’t like it? Tell our community to stop making us all look like suspects

  4. I’m glad this didn’t end in Michael losing his life because he heard gun shots and starting running to a safe place. Until these cops are held accountable for their actions, we will continue to be stereotyped and shot.

  5. This isn’t going to stop until a law is passed that will allow prosecution and jail time for this kind of bullshit. Lawsuits against the city and paid time off are no deterrents for these retards since the money doesn’t come out of their pockets. Start locking their asses up for violating citizens’ civil rights and this crap will stop.

  6. If you are a BLACK man or raising a YOUNG BLACK man and stories like don’t make every hair follicle stand up on your body when reading it then you need to be buried because you are already DEAD to the to the RACISM of this country…SMDH!!!

    • specialt757 on said:

      And I’ll go a step further, if you are a BLACK American or AA, your choice, and you’re raising a black youth or NOT, and these incidents of violations don’t make you feel hurt, ashamed, and most of all MAD, then you are dead, #Ifeelbadforyouson.

  7. This is a PRIME example of the whole reason why Colin Kaepernick sat during the anthem and people, NO “SOME BLACK” people have a problem with that…GTFOOH!!!

    • specialt757 on said:

      Exactly D,
      It kills me how people try to muddy the waters by bringing up different things relating to blacks in America as if we shouldn’t be concerned because we have other issues. Again, as already stated we can walk and chew gum at the same time. All issues are important, but if no one shines the light, it’s left in the dark where no one knows it’s happening and how do you fix something you don’t know is happening?

  8. This is what stood out to me MOST “…said he was among several hundred people running away.” but some how you found THIS one African American man as the prime suspect and enforce your HATE, RACISIM, AND BRUTAL tactics against just because you feel a gun and a badge gives you that right. It’s a real DAMN shame and I am sure like all the other THOUSANDS of cases like this one it will be NOTHING done to the two POS violated his rights as a American citizen and innocent human being. SMDH!!!!

  9. Yes, l saw that bs. Jason Whitlock has been dogging CK from day one. He’s constantly putting his foot in his mouth. Eventually he will lose his job.

  10. specialt757 on said:

    To read his statement that says in this moment where he thought he was going to die, he thought about his wife and kids and thought to himself, I’m going to die for no other reason than being black, is heartbreaking and also very telling of the fear black men in Amerikkka face on a daily basis. Stay Woke.

  11. specialt757 on said:

    Bad cops at their best. And again folks, this is the mentality of Amerikkka, blacks are never given the benefit of the doubt, they are ALWAYS the suspects. This same scenario plays out over and over again in ANY town, city of state U.S.A.

  12. Another case of “being black in a crowd”. Where are the other suspects in this “active shooter” scenario? Did Bennett have a gun on him? What’s the “detention” for? You’re looking for an active shooter, you pick this 6’4 BLACK guy and assume he’s the one, but with no gun? GTFOH.

    • They said he wasn’t carrying a gun, he wasn’t drinking. He was tortured and went through a horrific ordeal b/c he was blk. man in Americkkka. I m glad he didn’t lose his life and was able to tell his story. Having a son, makes me afraid for his life daily, especially hearing stories like this. When will it end?

      • specialt757 on said:

        Right. It won’t end because all blacks don’t want the same thing. Look at this link:
        The “white guy” is actually Christopher Reid, or Kid from Kid-n-play.
        It’s not funny but cruelly ironic that even in the house party movie, Kid’s dad, (Robin Harris) was stopped and harassed by dirty white cops, while he walked down the street of his own neighborhood, doing NOTHING but walking. And now “Kid” thinks it’s funny to mock Kap who is standing against this very same thing.
        Some blacks and many who come on here every day, just think blacks shouldn’t be concerned about how we’re treated by the masses, “weez free now, so suck it up” they say. I say to them F- you, let this shit happen to your kids and then tell us how you feel.

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