A recently unearthed video of an NFL superstar being unnecessarily harassed by law enforcement has reignited the bitter debate surrounding the issue of police brutality to the forefront of American discourse.
Following the recent Floyd Mayweather-Connor MacGregor fight in Las Vegas, Seattle Seahawks’ star defensive end Michael Bennett was profiled, pinned down to the ground, and arrested for no reason by a Vegas police officer following reports of nearby gunshots.
Bennett alleges that the police officer told him that he would “blow his f*cking head off” if he resisted arrest in an open letter about the incident that has quickly gone viral on social media, racking up over 82,000 shares on Twitter at the time of writing.
— Michael Bennett (@mosesbread72) September 6, 2017
There’s little doubt that Michael Bennett’s rough treatment has nothing to do with the fact that he has made it very public that he stands with embattled free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick in kneeling for the national anthem as a protest against police brutality and racial inequality in America.
It is the very essence of white supremacy for a black man to speak his mind and to take a stand only to be punished with violence and threatened with death for his actions – and that’s exactly what happened to Bennett.
While nobody is saying all police officers are racist, there’s no denying that law enforcement agencies often act as an agency of white supremacy – the FBI itself has quietly acknowledged that American police forces have been widely infiltrated by white supremacists.
Between the endless stories of police brutality, the staggering number black Americans who are executed without charge or trial, and the way that the police actively protect neo-Nazis and white nationalists shows that there is something fundamentally wrong in our institutions of state violence that we need to address in a socially constructive manner.
We’re willing to bet Bennett won’t be standing for the anthem anytime soon.
Colin Taylor is the editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.