In a social media post that's gone viral, Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett claims that he was unfairly targeted by police officers while he was walking back to his hotel after the Mayweather-McGregor fight. However, TMZ Sports reported late Wednesday night that, according to "sources connected to the investigation," the reason Bennett was arrested is that he ran from cops after they ordered everyone to get down.
TMZ Sports reports:
Sources connected to the investigation tell TMZ Sports ... when cops responded to the club for a possible shooting, they ordered everyone to get down and not move so they could properly search and investigate.
We're told Bennett did not stay put — instead, he ran — and a cop outside the club stopped him and ordered him down to the ground at gunpoint.
Our sources say Bennett was detained until cops could determine he was not involved in any possible criminal activity ... and he was released.
A video obtained by TMZ shows Bennett being handcuffed outside Drai's Nightclub on August 26. In the video, while one officer cuffs Bennett, who's lying on his stomach on the sidewalk, another officer takes a defensive position on the balcony. Bennett can be heard screaming, "I wasn't doing nothing man! I was here with my friends! They told us to get out, everybody ran!"
In a statement he posted online that has since gone viral, Bennett, who has participated in the anti-police national anthem protests, accused the officers of singling him out "for doing nothing more than being a black man at the wrong place at the wrong time":
On Saturday, August 26, 2016, I was in Las Vegas to attend the Mayweather-McGregor fight on my day off. After the fight while heading back to my hotel several hundred people heard what sounded like gun shots. Like many of the people in the area I ran away from the sound, looking for safety. Las Vegas police officers singled me out and pointed their guns at me for doing nothing more than being a black man at the wrong place at the wrong time.
Bennett goes on to accuse the officers of excessive force, claiming one officer told him he'd "blow my f***ing head off" (which is not heard in the footage) and "forcefully jammed his knee" into his back, making it difficult for Bennett to breathe.
"The Officers' excessive use of force was unbearable," he writes. "I felt helpless as I lay there on the ground handcuffed facing the real-life threat of being killed."
After handcuffing him, the officers led Bennett to the back of a police car. They released him after determining his identity and that he was not a threat.
Despite there being no evidence that he was targeted because of his race rather than because he was running from the scene, Bennett says the incident is further justification for his protest of the national anthem:
I have always held the strong conviction that protesting or just standing up for justice is simply the right thing to do. This fact is unequivocally, without question why before every game I sit during the national anthem ... because equality doesn’t live in this country and no matter how much money you make, what job title you have, or how much you give, when you are seen as a "n*****," you will be treated that way.
The system failed me. I can only imagine what Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, and Charleena Lyles felt.
Here's his full statement: