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Michael Bennett hires Oakland civil rights attorney for possible case against Las Vegas police

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Michael Bennett is exploring a civil-rights lawsuit against the Las Vegas Police Department. (Courtesy Jonathan Satriale/WEBN-TV/Flickr)
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With Colin Kaepernick effectively out of the NFL, Michael Bennett has taken the lead as the most vocal player protesting the national anthem before games.

On Wednesday morning, the Seattle Seahawks defensive lineman announced he was considering a civil rights case against the Las Vegas Police Department for an incident that happened after the fight between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor in late August.

Bennett posted on Twitter that after hearing something that sounded like gunfire, he was “singled out” by officers pointing their guns at him. One policeman stuck his knee in Bennett’s back and another threatened to shoot the Pro Bowler in the head if he moved, according to the post.

“The Officers’ excessive use of force was unbearable,” Bennett wrote. “… All I could think of was, ‘I’m going to die for no other reason than I am black and my skin is somehow a threat.’”

Bennett announced he is retaining Oakland-based attorney John Burris “to investigate and explore all my legal options.”

Shortly after making his claim, TMZ posted video of Bennett’s arrest in which the lineman is seen on the ground as officers bark orders at him.

Las Vegas Police Department Undersheriff Kevin McMahill told reporters that officers were responding to a report of shots fired at Cromwell Casino, where they were unable to find a shooter. According to his statements, they did not have a description of the suspect and chased Bennett outside after seeing him flee the building.

“I can’t answer that as of yet,” McMahill told reporters after being asked why Bennett was singled out despite it being chaotic in the area.

Burris has called for the officers’ body-camera footage to be released, but the arresting officer did not activate his that day.

The NFL issued a statement to support Bennett on Wednesday.

“Michael Bennett represents the best of the NFL — a leader on his team and community,” commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement.

jpalmer@sfexaminer.com

Tribune News Service contributed to this report.

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