Hawks’ Sefolosha settles civil lawsuit with New York City police

By CHRIS VIVLAMORE

Tribune News Service

Thabo Sefolosha has settled his civil lawsuit against five members of the New York City Police Department, the Hawks player and his attorney confirmed Wednesday. Sefolosha filed the lawsuit last year following injuries sustained during his arrest and subsequent acquittal in a criminal trial in 2015.

Former Hawks player Pero Antic, who was arrested with Sefolosha in April 2015, also filed a civil lawsuit against the five police officers involved in the arrest. Antic also is represented by Spiro, and that case is still pending, according to the attorney.

Sefolosha suffered a broken right leg and ligament damage to his ankle during his arrest in the early-morning hours of April 7, 2015 outside the nightclub 1Oak in New York. He missed the rest of the regular season and playoffs as the Hawks advanced to the Eastern Conference finals following season-ending surgery.

Sefolosha faced three misdemeanor counts, alleging that he disobeyed orders to move away from a crime scene and then resisted arrest. After declining a plea bargain, Sefolosha was acquitted of all the charges in a weeklong trial in October.

Sefolosha filed a notice of claim with the New York City comptroller of his intention to file a $50 million civil suit. In a television interview stating his intention to bring action, Sefolosha said “There is a lot of unknown about how this will affect me two years from now, five years from now, 10 years from now. Also because I think it’s the right approach to put lights on a situation like this and be able to fight back in a legal way and in a way that can empower, hopefully.”

The settlement brings to a close and vindication to the long chapter of Sefolosha’s career. He spoke out against instances of the use of excessive force by police that have caused national outrage and protest. Speaking before the start of the season, Sefolosha said he felt lucky to be alive after the incident.

“To be honest, looking at some of the footage that we see from Tulsa and Charlotte, I feel lucky to be here and to talk about what happened to me,” Sefolosha said in September. “To be honest, it could have went many different ways. I think I’m lucky to be able to speak about it.

“It’s been going on for years now. It’s a touchy subject but it needs to be addressed. It’s a necessary conversation and hopefully it can happen without violence in all the demonstrations going on.”

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Posted by Tribune News Services

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