Michael Bennett: NFL star in police racism claim after 'having gun placed by his head'

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An American football star has accused police in Las Vegas of racially profiling him after a video emerged of him being pinned to the ground and handcuffed.

Michael Bennett, a Seattle Seahawks defensive lineman who has won the Super Bowl, said he was arrested after fleeing a nightclub with several hundred other members of the public following what people thought were gunshots.

The incident happened on 26 August after the Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor boxing match.

In a video posted on TMZ.com, a distressed Bennett is pictured face down on the road as the officer restrains him, saying: “I wasn’t doing nothing man. I was here with my friends. They told us to get out, everybody ran.”

In a statement posted on Twitter, Bennett wrote  that he feared he would die, saying: “As I laid on the ground, complying with his commands not to move, (the officer) placed his gun near my head and warned me that if I moved he would ‘blow my f***** head off’.”

The gridiron star, who is 6ft 4in tall, alleged that a second officer jammed a knee into his back so hard that it was hard to breathe, and he was released after police realised his identity.

He 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.”

Bennett is writing a book about racism in the NFL and the incident comes as quarterback and activist Colin Kaepernick struggles to sign to a new team after speaking out on race issues.

Bennett reportedly declined to stand for the national anthem following violent clashes in Charlottesville, Virginia, between white nationalists and counter-protesters.

Police said the player was detained for about 10 minutes after running from a club where officers were investigating reports of a gunman.

Las Vegas police Undersheriff Kevin McMahill told a press conference: “I see no evidence that race played any role in this incident.”

The officer at the centre of incident did not have his body camera activated and remains on duty.

McMahill said investigators are reviewing 126 videos of the scene and that no shots were fired at the club.

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