Hiding While Black; Police Point Gun at Seahawks’ Michael Bennett’s Face and Now May Face a Lawsuit

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Michael Bennett - Image via NBC News

Seattle Seahawks Defensive End Michael Bennett accused Las Vegas police officers of racial profiling.

Like many celebrities and professional athletes, Bennett traveled to Las Vegas to attend the Floyd Mayweather – Conor McGregor super fight. After the fight, Bennett decided to head back to his hotel.

However, while walking to his hotel Bennett heard what sounded like gunshots. Like many other people in the area, Bennett ran for safety.

While taking cover, Las Vegas police officers singled out Bennett and commanded him to get on the ground. Bennett complied with their commands, but the officers continued to point their guns at him.

One of the officers placed his gun near Bennett’s head.

Body Camera Footage:

Fortunately, nothing serious happened to Bennett. Although at a press conference on Wednesday an emotional Bennett called the incident “a traumatic experience for me and my family.”

Bennett said that he’s also considering filing a civil rights lawsuit.

“It sucks that in the country that we live in now, sometimes you get profiled for the color of your skin,” Bennett said in a news conference.  “It’s a tough situation for me. Do I think every police officer is bad? No, I don’t believe that. Do I believe there’s some people out there that judge people on the color of their skin? I do believe that.”

Bennett’s Press Conference:

Additionally, Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carol said Bennett has the full support of the entire Seahawks organization.

“Michael Bennett, unfortunately, experienced a horrendous incident on August 27,” said Coach Pete Carroll to reporters Wednesday, according to the team’s website. “We are thankful he is safe, and we take this opportunity to say that we stand in support of him and anyone facing inequalities.”

On the other side of things, Vegas Police deny Bennett’s claim of racial profiling. Las Vegas Police Undersheriff Kevin McMahill said he saw no evidence of racial profiling.

“I can tell you as I stand here today, I see no evidence of that,” McMahill said. “I see no evidence that race played any role in this incident.”

Furthermore, McMahill said police officers detained Bennett because of his suspicious actions.

“Due to Bennett’s actions and the information the officer’s had at the time, they believed that Bennett may have been involved in the shooting.”

Mistaken identity or not, Michael Bennett has a case if he decides to pursue it. However, with the start of football season approaching, he may decide against it.

Unfortunately, these types of incidents happen far too frequently. Bennett’s case continues to shine a light on policing issues in our country. If Bennett decides to pursue a civil rights lawsuit, Gotham City Esq will update this story accordingly.

In light of this, I really hope Bennett and Kaepernick open the eyes of America.  Fortunately, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell released a statement regarding the incident.  That is a good start.

 

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