In a shocking Sept. 6 tweet, Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett says he was subjected to racist abuse at the hands of Las Vegas police.
The outspoken Pro-Bowler said he was singled out and mistreated for “simply being a black man in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Bennet said that as he returned to his hotel after attending the Mayweather-McGregor fight Aug. 26, he heard what he believed to be gunshots. He wrote that he was running in the opposite direction looking for safety when officers picked him out of a group and ordered to get on the ground.
“As I lay on the ground, complying with his commands to not move, he placed his gun near my head and warned me that if I moved he would ‘blow my fucking head off,'” he wrote.
After being handcuffed, Bennett said, he sat in the back of the police car until the officers realized who he was and released him without explanation.
Bennett has been a vocal supporter of Colin Kaepernick’s protest of police violence, telling Power 105.1’s “The Breakfast Club” that he believes the activist quarterback is being “blackballed” by the league.
Bennett elected not to stand for the national anthem before an Aug. 13 preseason game against the San Diego Chargers. He recently announced plans to continue sitting for the anthem all season in response to events in Charlottesville, Virginia, and has criticized fellow players who choose to remain silent.
“Every day, a white quarterback throws the ball to a black receiver, but when it comes to Black Lives Matter issues, they won’t step up and be like, ‘There is an issue,'” Bennett recently told The Undefeated.
Kaepernick tweeted his support for Bennett on Wednesday morning, calling the events “disgusting and unjust.”
Bennett is considering pursuing legal action against the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.
Despite the surge in activism like Bennett’s and Kaepernick’s, high-profile cases of alleged police abuse of people of color have produced few convictions.
“The system failed me,” Bennett wrote. “I can only imagine what Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, and Charleena Lyles felt,” he said.
Upworthy has reached out to Bennett’s attorney John Burris and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department for comment.
Update 9/6/2017: In a press conference, a Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department spokesperson claimed Bennett was apprehended when he jumped “over a wall into traffic,” leading officers to believe he may have been involved with the shooting, which was later determined to be a false report. While the spokesperson said there’s “no evidence that race played a role,” he announced the department would be opening an internal investigation of the incident.