NFL’s Michael Bennett on Police Arrest: ‘My life flashed before my eyes as I thought of my girls’

by Walter Einenkel –

On September 6th, Seattle Seahawks defensive end and Super Bowl champion Michael Bennett released a statement onto social media concerning a police action that took place outside of a club in Las Vegas on August 26 after the Mayweather-McGregor boxing match:

Dear World,

On Saturday, august 26, 2017 I was in Las Vegas to attend the Mayweather-McGregor fight on my day off. After the fight while heading back to my hotel several hundred people heard what sounded like gun shots. 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 to not move, he placed his gun near my head and warned me that if I moved he would “blow my fucking 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. They then 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.” My life flashed before my eyes as I thought of my girls. Would I ever play with them again? Or watch them have kids? Or be able to kiss my wife again and tell her I love her?

I have always held a strong conviction that protesting or standing up for justice is just simply, the right thing to do. This fact is unequivocally, without question why before every game, I sit during the national anthem—because equality doesn’t live in this country and no matter how much money you make, what job title you have, or how much you give, when you are seen as a “Nigger,” you will be treated that way.

The system failed me. I can only imagine what Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, and Charleena Lyles felt.

While the NFL censures people like Colin Kaepernick for protesting the unequal treatment of people of color in America, the movement against this double standard continues to take on an energy we haven’t seen in years. Bennett himself had already announced his intention to sit during the playing of the National Anthem during this season. According to ESPN, Las Vegas police are investigating the matter.

Police Officer Jacinto Rivera told The Associated Press that Las Vegas police are checking for video and written reports but can’t immediately verify Bennett’s account.

Bennett said he has retained John Burris, an Oakland-based civil rights attorney, to investigate the incident and determine his legal options.

There is a short piece of video below from TMZ. The video begins with a police officer coming to a porch over which we see the action of Bennett, lying on the floor being cuffed. While the officer cuffing him does not have a gun out, this could be because there is now an officer training a flashlight and gun on Bennett from above.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos