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'Las Vegas police officers singled me out for doing nothing more than simply being a black man'

Michael Bennett had just attended the McGregor v Mayweather fight, when he alleges that police officers singled him out after gunshots were heard.

Image: SIPA USA/PA Images

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS STAR Michael Bennett has accused police in Las Vegas of racism and excessive force after a gunpoint confrontation following the recent Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor fight.

In a post on Twitter titled “Equality”, Bennett detailed how he was detained by police following the 26 August fight, as a crowd scattered after hearing what was feared to be gunshots.

Bennett, who has spoken out in support of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s anthem protests over police brutality, said he was targeted by law enforcement because of his ethnicity.

“Like many of the people in the area I ran away from the sound, looking for safety,” Bennett wrote.

“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.”

Bennett said that after obeying an instruction by a police officer to get on the ground, the same officer “placed his gun near my head and and warned me that if I moved he would ‘blow my f**king 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,” he added. “They then cinched handcuffs on my wrists so tight that my fingers went numb.”

Bennett said he had feared death during the incident as his life flashed before him.

“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,” Bennett wrote.

He said he was later released after officers “apparently realized I was not a thug, common criminal or ordinary black man but Michael Bennett, a famous professional football player.”

Bennett said the incident made him even more determined to sit during renditions of the national anthem, “because equality doesn’t live in this country.”

Bennett said he had retained a lawyer with a view to launching civil litigation.

Read the full statement here:

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department meanwhile said the incident was under investigation.

“Reference a statement made by Michael Bennett, this case is under investigation,” the police department said on Twitter.

“Reserve judgment. We will address this publicly today.”

– © AFP 2017

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