Sefolosha: Lawsuit against NYPD right move, hopes for change
NEW YORK (AP) — Atlanta Hawks forward Thabo Sefolosha thinks about the confrontation with New York police that left him with a broken leg “almost daily” and is filing a civil suit because “they have to be held accountable and be smart about how to interact with people.”
Sefolosha still isn’t fully recovered from the injuries in April that ended his season. He sat out Thursday night against the New York Knicks after playing in Atlanta’s season opener on Tuesday.
He said it was good to be back in New York, though allowed that it was “a little bit different this time.”
“Of course it reminds me of that night, but at the same time, I mean it’s been six months and I’ve been thinking about it almost daily,” Sefolosha said. “So I think being in New York or not being in New York is almost the same for me.”
He was back here earlier this month when he was acquitted of charges of misdemeanor obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest outside a nightclub the night before the Hawks were to play the Brooklyn Nets.
Sefolosha, a native of Switzerland, said he understands police have a difficult job, but wants to make sure it is done properly.
“I don’t think it’d be fair to knock down the police’s job or anything like this, but at the same time I think they have to be held accountable and be smart about how to interact with people,” Sefolosha said.
He said he decided to bring the suit after talking with his family and agents because his career could possibly be in jeopardy because of his injuries. He was resting his ankle Thursday that he said still feels tight after he plays, saying he wanted to take steps to make sure he was healthy in a few months.
Sefolosha was in New York for the trial when tennis player James Blake was taken to the ground by an NYPD officer and wrongly arrested after he was mistaken for a fraud suspect.
“I was surprised,” Sefolosha said. “I wasn’t shocked but I was definitely surprised and I mean I think it’s terrible that something like this happened and keeps happening. I’m happy that he was able to speak out, speak his mind about what happened and raise awareness.”
Sefolosha recounted the ordeal in a story in GQ Magazine and hopes the lawsuit keeps people talking about it.
“I think it’s the right move and hopefully it’ll push people to somehow bring some changes, just to keep the discussion open about it,” he said.