NBA Player Thabo Sefolosha Describes Abuse by NYPD in Trial

October 9th 2015

Alex Mierjeski

Update Friday 7:45 PST: Thabo Sefolosha was found not guilty Friday morning on all three counts of resisting arrest, obstructing government administration, and disorderly conduct. There will likely be some litigation to follow. 

Thabo Sefolosha, guard-forward for the Atlanta Hawks, is awaiting a jury's decision after he claimed New York City police officers pushed, kicked, and forced him to the ground outside of a nightclub in April.

The NBA player described his alleged abuse at the hands of the New York City Police Department in a Manhattan court Wednesday, the New York Times reported, saying his arms were grabbed, he was kicked, and pushed to the pavement without warning as he tried to give a panhandler money.

Sefolosha, who is a Black Swiss citizen, also brought up brutality and the wrongful nature of his arrest in the context of similar accusations lobbed at the NYPD recently. Police claim they were trying to clear a crowd after a stabbing earlier in the night, and that Sefolosha was in the way. Sefolosha was charged with obstructing a governmental administration, disorderly conduct, and resisting arrest, The Times reports.

Related: James Blake's Mistaken Arrest Highlights NYPD's Excessive Use of Force

"He said, 'That's it, you're going to jail,'" Sefolosha said of one of the officers involved. "I didn't even have a chance to put my hands behind my back[.]" Sefolosha also claimed his leg was broken in the process, causing him to miss the playoffs, according to the Associated Press.

"After they pushed me, basically it was two, three, four officers on me," he said. "

Police dispute the player's claim. According to testimony from the officers involved, Sefolosha ignored their orders, and lunged at an officer with an extended arm. But Sefolosha maintains he was singled out by one officer after an tense exchange because he is black. The Times notes that the officer, John Paul Giacona, was accused of yelling and cursing at Sefolosha, saying that he could best the athlete in a fight. To which Sefolosha allegedly responded: "'You're 5-foot-2.' I said, 'If you saw me in a different place, you wouldn't say that. You're a midget.'"

Sefolosha faced cross examination Thursday and is awaiting a jury decision.

On Wednesday, a city review board said that the NYPD officer who mistakenly tackled the world's former No. 4 tennis star James Blake last month used excessive force, the New York Times reported.

The footage of James Blake's mistaken arrest is outrageous.

BREAKING: The footage of James Blake's mistaken arrest is outrageous.

Posted by ATTN: on Friday, September 11, 2015