Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett has been outspoken about racial injustice before, and now he says police used excessive force on him for "being a black man in the wrong place at the wrong time."
In a statement released on his Twitter account on Wednesday (Sept. 6), Bennett said that he was headed back to his hotel after the Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Conor McGregor fight in Las Vegas on Saturday, Aug. 26, when several people heard what sounded like gunshots. While he and other people were running away from the sound, Bennett says that police singled him out and pointed their guns at him.
"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,'" Bennett wrote. A second officer, he said, jammed his knee into Bennett's back, making it difficult for Bennett to breathe.
"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," he wrote. "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?"
UPDATE: Video of Bennett being handcuffed has been released by TMZ Sports.
He then explained that he was put in the back of a police car before officers confirmed his identity and released him without justifying their behavior.
After citing other victims of police brutality like Eric Garner, Michael Brown and Tamir Rice, Bennett said he is pursuing legal options, including a civil rights lawsuit.
Bennett was also in the news in recent weeks for joining fellow football player Colin Kaepernick and protesting the national anthem in an NFL preseason game. Kaepernick tweeted to show his support for Bennett.
"This violation that happened against my Brother Michael Bennett is disgusting and unjust," Kaepernick tweeted. "I stand with Michael and I stand with the people."