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January 21, 2018

Sign the petition for Michael Bennett-Release the names of officers that assaulted NFL player Michael Bennett.

Today marks the first Sunday of the NFL season and dozens of players across the league are expected to participate in protests against police violence and white supremacy during the national anthem. Michael Bennett is one of the players protesting and he took his fight for accountability to the next level this week by telling his own story of being unjustly assaulted by Las Vegas police. Michael made his reasons clear at a press conference this week saying:

“There are a lot of people who experience what I experienced at that moment and they are not here to tell their story. I think about Trayvon Martin. I think about Philando Castile, Tamir Rice… People ask why I sit down, and this is why.” 

Predictably, Michael has come under attack for having the courage to tell his story. The Las Vegas police union called on the NFL commissioner to investigate Michael and notorious Black Lives Matter hater Sheriff David Clarke is one of hundreds of people who attacked Michael’s character online. Police apologists are going back to the same old playbook of victim blaming but players like Bennett are prepared to stay in the trenches of this fight.

Just as we have been standing with Colin Kaepernick, we’ve got to back up and encourage all the current players taking a stand this week. Black Lives Matter Global Network co-founder Patrisse Cullors started a petition demanding transparency from the Las Vegas police department and it has already been signed by more than 45,000 people. Still, the department refuses to release the over 100 hours of video from that night or the officers’ names, including the officer who held a gun to the back of Michael’s head but now claims he didn’t activate his own body camera. This weekend’s games will come and go but we must stay committed to police accountability.

Add your name to the petition. Michael Bennett has been sitting for us. Stand with him now.



P.S. Read the original email from Patrisse Cullors below for more details.

Patrisse Cullors-Brignac of Black Lives Matter Global Network just started a petition titled: “Tell Vegas Police Department: Release names of officers that assaulted NFL player Michael Bennett.”

Here’s why this is important:

Police brutalizing Black people is endemic in the United States. Last Saturday police terrorized 6’4 ft, 274 lbs 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.1

As a co-founder of Black Lives Matter Network, I receive countless calls from victims and families of police violence. 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.

Tell Vegas Police Department to release video footage and names of officers that assaulted NFL player Michael Bennett.

Last Saturday, I received an urgent call from Michael Bennettimmediately after he was assaulted by police officers in Las Vegas. Michael was leaving the Mayweather-McGregor fight and walking back to his hotel when reported shots fired. He ran for cover and continued walking once he believed he was safe. Unexpectedly, Michael was ordered to lay on the ground by an officer who then held a gun to his head yelling, “Don’t move or I will blow your fucking head off!” Officers then tossed Michael into a squad car, only to later release him once he was identified as a famous NFL star. Immediately fearing retaliation for their use of excessive force, the officers lied and told Michael they assaulted him for his own protection.

Black Lives Matter requested the names of the cops that brutalized Michael–information that is crucial to gaining police accountability and identifying misconduct within the force. However, the Las Vegas Police Department refuses to release the identity of the officers. This comes as no surprise since the department has an extensive history of terrorizing and murdering Black people.2  

Just four months ago, unarmed Tashii Brown was murdered after asking two Las Vegas cops where he could buy water. One officer simply answered the question, but his colleague, former Officer Kenneth Lopera grew suspicious. As Tashii was leaving where the officers were standing, Lopera–in a paranoid frenzy–ran after him and began repeatedly electrocuting the 40-year-old with a stun gun. Caught on video, Lopera proceeded to kill Tashii, who was not resisting, using an illegal chokehold. Although charges were pressed against Lopera, it was the first time in over 30-years that police brutality charges were brought against an officer in Las Vegas.Let’s secure the information in Michael’s case to bring about justice!

Ed Police accountability starts with transparency! Tell Vegas PD: Release footage and Michael’s assaulters’ names NOW!

Releasing footage of Michael’s encounter with Las Vegas officers as well as the names is the only pathway for accountability and toward denouncing police terrorism against Black people and communities. Michael walked away able-bodied and alive from the brutality he endured on Saturday, but as reality proves, this is not always the case.

Patrisse Cullors, Co-Founder of Black Lives Matter Global Network

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