Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett is taking his crusade against the police to the courts, according to the player and his lawyer.
In an interview with ABC News, Bennett and his lawyer, John Burris, said they plan to take legal action and sue the Las Vegas Metro Police Department.
This all stems from an Aug. 27 incident where Bennett, 31, was detained in Las Vegas following the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Conor McGregor fight.
According to police, officers were responding to reports of gunshots in a casino after the fight. Bennett was crouched behind a slot machine when the police arrived, then started to run.
Police claim they detained Bennett because he continued to run after they ordered him to stop. Bennett claims he was running to get away from a possible active shooter.
Bennett alleges he was racially profiled and unfairly treated while being detained.
“Las Vegas police singled me out and pointed their guns at me for doing nothing more than simply being a black man at the wrong place at the wrong time,” Bennett said in a statement after the incident.
The LVMPD has denied this claim. In a letter to the NFL in which it asked the league to investigate Bennett’s “false allegations” of racial profiling, the president of the Las Vegas police officers union said “our officers had reasonable suspicion, which is the constitutional standard, to detain Bennett until they could determine whether he was involved in the shooting.”
The NFL has said it has no plans to investigate Bennett or his claims.
Video of the incident seems to dispel Bennett’s claims of racial profiling, since dozens of other African-Americans are seen in the area but only Bennett was detained. Bennett and Burris are alleging physical and verbal abuse from the police when Bennett was detained.
Burris was the one who dropped the bombshell revelation.
“Unless something changes drastically that we don’t know of, we’re gonna file a lawsuit,” Burris said.
Bennett said he feared for his life because of the actions of the officers involved.
“I’m just thinking in my head, there’s like, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, all these people, these people that have been through this,” Bennett said.
“I’m terrified,” he added. “I’m literally just, like, worried if I make the wrong decision … if I move too fast, if I twitch, and somebody says I’m resisting … because I’m a big guy, you know what I’m saying?”
Bennett also described his mindset at the time.
“I was thinking about my kids, was like, ‘I need to get home, I need to make sure I’m back with my wife … I don’t want to leave her alone with these three girls.’”
Specifics as to when a possible lawsuit would be filed were not provided.
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