Former Thunder player Thabo Sefolosha, now with the Atlanta Hawks, will play in New York City tonight for the first time since and April 8th incident with the New York police left the forward with a broken leg.
Sefolosha told ESPN’s Hannah Storm in a sit-down interview that he plans to file civil suit against the city, the police department and the officers involved.
Sefolosha said the incident began as people were leaving a nightclub. Several officers were ushering patrons out because they were working the stabbing scene of then-Indiana Pacers player Chris Copeland. As he was leaving Sefolosha spotted a homeless person who had asked him for money earlier in the night. Thabo says an officer moved the man back and when he tried to pursue the man with some cash, officers took him down and placed him under arrest.
Sefolosha was charged with three misdemeanors: obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
“I took a few steps trying to give [a homeless person who had been pushed back by police] some money and that’s when one of the other officers pushed me on the side and told me I was going to jail,” Sefolosha told Storm.
“Everything happened fairly quickly and I didn’t quite understand what was going on. There was no clear order and so I didn’t understand why I was getting arrested. It went from one to three to five and before I knew it somebody was kicking me in the leg.”
On Oct. 9th, a jury found Thabo not-guilty on all counts. His lawsuit will argue that officers profiled him for being a black man wearing a hoodie.
“I don’t know exactly what was the real cause, but I think maybe race was part of it.”
Sefolosha said he hopes the suit will help rally a cause against police brutality.
“They were supposedly doing their job. Is that part of their job to do this to an innocent man? Is that how it’s supposed to go? Then I’m just one among many here saying that something is not right and that hopefully together we can come up with some changes and solution.”
The Hawks take on the Knicks at Madison Square Garden tonight at 7:00 p.m. CT. Sefolosha will sit out tonight’s game as he continues his recovery.