Despite police attempts to flip the script, there are those who continue to seek justice in the case of Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett Jr., who was held at gunpoint by Las Vegas police for being black and “in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Black Lives Matter Global Network co-founder Patrisse Cullors-Brignac—whom Bennett called after the Aug. 26 incident—authored a petition that has nearly 45,000 signatures as of press time:
Police brutalizing Black people is endemic in the United States. Last Saturday police terrorized 6'4 ft, 274 lbs NFL star Michael Bennett “for walking while Black”. This latest incident stands as a testament to the police violence targeting Black people in the United States.
Last Saturday, I received an urgent call from Michael Bennett immediately after he was assaulted by police officers in Las Vegas. Michael was leaving the Mayweather-McGregor fight and walking back to his hotel when reported shots fired. He ran for cover and continued walking once he believed he was safe. Unexpectedly, Michael was ordered to lay on the ground by an officer who then held a gun to his head yelling, “Don’t move or I will blow your fucking head off!” Officers then tossed Michael into a squad car, only to later release him once he was identified as a famous NFL star. Immediately fearing retaliation for their use of excessive force, the officers lied and told Michael they assaulted him for his own protection.
As a co-founder of the Black Lives Matter Network, I receive countless calls from victims and families of police violence. We’ve worked relentlessly to provide folks with emotional support and connect them to policy advocates and lawyers. Yet, often our efforts to hold police accountable are prevented by the state’s lack of transparency. But for Michael’s case, transparency is the first step in the fight for justice.
Demand the Las Vegas Police Department releases Michael Bennett’s police footage and the names of the officers involved now!
As recently reported by The Root, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department is now on the offensive, saying that Bennett may have been involved in a fight at a Vegas casino on the evening in question; its police union wrote a letter to the NFL saying that Bennett made “false and defamatory” comments against the LVMPD.
Bennett originally wrote about the Aug. 26 incident in a heartfelt social media post:
You can sign the petition here: