John Burris, a civil rights attorney representing Seattle Seahawks defensive lineman Michael Bennett after he experienced alleged racial profiling and brutality by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, is requesting an independent investigation into the incident.
Adam Schefter of ESPN passed along a statement from Burris, who said the police department and its union have started a "smear campaign" against his client. He also requests the release of all 911 calls and incident reports related to the situation last month.
Bennett posted his side of the story on social media Wednesday. The NFL player said he was singled out by police officers while trying to run away from the sound of gunfire while returning to his hotel after the fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Conor McGregor at T-Mobile Arena on Aug. 26:
Michael Bennett @mosesbread72
Equality. https://t.co/NQ4pJt94AZ2017-9-6 14:01:16
On Thursday, the Las Vegas Police Protective Association released its own statement calling for NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to conduct an investigation into Bennett for what the union described as "obvious false allegations" against its officers:
.@LVPPA We’ve requested that the NFL investigate and take action against Michael Bennett. #lvmpd #lvppa https://t.co/YAsfzEcoLx2017-9-7 20:50:15
NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy responded later Thursday, per ESPN.com: "There is no allegation of a violation of the league's personal conduct policy and therefore there is no basis for an NFL investigation."
Michael Bennett Sr., the Seahawks star's father, told Ben Baskin of Sports Illustrated he encouraged his son to make the story public.
"You have to let the public know what happened to you that night. This is why you're kneeling," the elder Bennett said, referencing the decision to protest during the national anthem. "You have to do this."
He added: "The person that says, 'How could this happen?' That say they are appalled and shocked. I hate to put it this way but there not any African American people who are saying this. I can understand a white person not understanding how this happens. You grew up somewhere where it doesn't happen, so you can't know. How would you know? You don't have to tell your kids they can't be in the car with their buddies. You don't have to worry about that. But we do. We do have to tell our kids. We do expect those things to happen. We see it happen every day."
Meanwhile, Bennett and the Seahawks are getting prepared to open the regular season Sunday afternoon with a visit to Lambeau Field for a game against the Green Bay Packers.