Thabo Sefolosha, who played for the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks, filed a civil suit against the New York City Police Department and New York City after a fight outside a nightclub last year injured his leg. Charges against the involved officers and NYC include false arrest, excessive force and civil rights violations.
According to The Huffington Post, Sefolosha’s legal team initially filed a $50 million lawsuit against the parties in October for the “permanent damage” done to Sefolosha’s leg after NYPD officers attacked him. Accounts of the incident differ, with Sefolosha saying he was giving a homeless man money a block away from 1Oak nightclub in April of 2015 when the situation became chaotic. He said his neck was grabbed, arm pulled and leg kicked. The 6-foot-6 Sefolosha fell to the ground with a broken leg and was then arrested.
NYPD officers insist they were in the area after Indiana Pacers forward Chris Copeland was stabbed and that they were only trying to keep Sefolosha out of the way. They say the Hawks forward questioned their authority.
The suit points to a “racial matter” referencing the hoodie Sefolosha was wearing that night as well as his African ancestry. Teammate and Hawks center Pero Antic was also arrested outside the nightclub, where officers claimed the pair was interfering with Copeland’s crime scene. Initially charged with disorderly conduct, obstructing governmental administration and second-degree harassment, the charges against Antic were dropped in September. Antic later filed a $25 million dollar suit against the police department New York City.
Sefolosha’s injuries from the scuffle caused him to sit out the rest of the regular season with the Hawks as well as the team’s playoff in the conference finals. After the arrest, the 31-year-old Switzerland native was prosecuted and acquitted of misdemeanor obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest in October, ESPN reports.