On Wednesday, Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett posted a statement on Twitter labeled "Equality," alleging he was profiled by police in Las Vegas during the weekend of the Connor McGregor-Floyd Mayweather fight (Aug. 26).
Hours after Bennett's tweet, TMZ released video showing Bennett being pinned to the ground and handcuffed by a police officer while another watched from above with his gun drawn.
"I wasn't doing nothing, man," Bennett says to the officer on his back.
Bennett described being threatened by a police officer with his gun drawn who allegedly said he would "blow [his] f---ing head off" if he moved. Then, according to Bennett, another officer came and jammed a knee into his back before closing the handcuffs so tight that it numbed his fingers.
The NFL star said the police let him go when they discovered who he was.
"They apparently realized I was not a thug, common criminal or ordinary black man but Michael Bennett a famous professional football player," he wrote.
At a news conference on Wednesday afternoon, Las Vegas Metro Police Undersheriff Kevin McMahill said the department only learned of Bennett's allegations after his post on Twitter and immediately opened an internal investigation. He also provided the department's description of the events that night at the Cromwell Hotel and Casino.
"Bennett was seen crouched down behind a gaming machine," McMahill said. "He ran out and jumped over a wall. Due to Bennett's actions, [the officers] believed he may have been involved in the shooting."
McMahill said Bennett was detained for 10 minutes and released. He also said the LVMPD has 126 videos to watch involving the incident and asked anyone who has pertinent video to send it to the police, but McMahill revealed that the officer who handcuffed Bennett failed to turn on his body camera during the night in question.
Bennett said he retained the services of Oakland civil right attorney John Burris to investigate and explore legal his legal options. Burris has called on the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department to release bodycam footage of the incident and release the names of the two officers involved.
Bennett's brother, Martellus, shared an emotional Instagram post telling of the phone call he received from Michael following the incident, and told of the "fear in his voice."
"It was a tough situation for me," Bennett said talking to reporters on Wednesday, before getting emotional discussing his daughters and cutting the press conference short.
Michael Bennett addresses Seahawks media, walks off after getting emotional talking about his daughters. pic.twitter.com/sY1V0Ih9ZA- Jordan Heck (@JordanHeckFF) September 6, 2017
Bennett has been one of the biggest supporters of Colin Kaepernick's protest against police brutality. He joined with Kaepernick in sitting for national anthem before games last season and said he plans to do so again this season. After Bennett released his statement, Kaepernick tweeted in support of him.
Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll released a statement via Twitter Wednesday afternoon saying the team "stands in support of [Bennett] and anyone facing inequalities."
"May this incident inspire all of us to respond with compassion when inequalities are brought to light, and allow us to have the courage to stand for change," Carroll wrote. "We can do better."
May this incident inspire all of us to respond with compassion and courage pic.twitter.com/vtsaB8BWi5- Pete Carroll (@PeteCarroll) September 6, 2017
NFL commisioner Roger Goodell also released a statement in support of Bennett.
Cy Brown writes about football, golf, soccer and other stuff for Sports on Earth. Follow him on Twitter @CEPBrown.