NFL star accuses police over ‘abuse’

A high-profile NFL star has accused Las Vegas police of excessive force during an incident after a major boxing event.

Michael Bennett, who plays in defence for the Seattle Seahawks, said he ran away from “what sounded like gun shots” after the Mayweather v McGregor fight in Las Vegas on 26 August.

In a statement he alleged he was forced to the ground at gunpoint by police and suggested he was singled out by race.

Bennett has previously publicly protested against racial injustice.

Warning: explicit language

A video of the alleged incident was released by TMZ – a US-based celebrity news website.

The BBC has contacted the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department for comment, but has not yet had a response. In a tweet, the police force said the case was under investigation, and that a statement would be made later on Wednesday.

In a statement posted on Twitter, Bennett said: “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.

“A police officer ordered me to get on the ground. As I laid on the ground, complying with his commands to not move, he placed his gun near my head and warned me that if I moved he would “blow my fucking 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. They then cinched the handcuffs on my wrists so tight that my fingers went numb.

“The Officers’ excessive use of force was unbearable. I felt helpless as I lay there on the ground handcuffed facing the real-life threat of being killed. 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’.”

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