Black Lives Matter isn’t wavering in its support of Michael Bennett and it wants the Las Vegas Police department to reveal the names of the officers who allegedly engaged in police brutality.
Patrisse Cullors, one of the founders of BLM, has urged the public to sign a petition for the Vegas police to be transparent about what the Seattle Seahawk defensive end described as a violent and racist interaction last month.
“Police brutalizing Black people is endemic in the United States,” Cullors’ letter said. “Last Saturday, police terrorized [6-foot-4, 274-pound] NFL star Michael Bennett ‘for walking while Black.’ This latest incident stands as a testament to the police violence targeting Black people in the United States.”
Cullors said she got an “urgent call” from Bennett after he left the Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor fight Saturday, Aug. 26. Bennett said last week that Vegas police aimed their guns at him “for doing nothing more than simply being a Black man in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
The athlete alleged police threatened him, kneed him and that handcuffs caused his fingers to go numb. Bennett said cops placed him in the back of a squad car before he was released with no charges after the officers discovered his identity.
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“As a co-founder of the Black Lives Matter Network, I receive countless calls from victims and families of police violence,” Cullors wrote in the petition. “We’ve worked relentlessly to provide folks with emotional support and connect them to policy advocates and lawyers. Yet, often our efforts to hold police accountable are prevented by the state’s lack of transparency. But for Michael’s case, transparency is the first step in the fight for justice.
“Demand the Las Vegas Police Department release Michael Bennett’s police footage and the names of the officers involved now!”
The appeal, which is less than 12,000 signatures shy of its 75,000 goal, came ahead of the Seahawks’ season opener against the Green Bay Packers. While Bennett’s team fell 17-9, he was pleased to have something else to focus on.
“It’s good to clear your mind and just focus on the game, and playing as hard as you can,” he told USA Today Sports Sunday, Sept. 10. “It’s always hard when you’re in the spotlight and people are asking about the story. But it’s just part of life. You still have to focus on your job.
“That’s a true story,” Bennett added of his police run-in. “Why would I lie about it?”