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NBA Player Thabo Sefolosha Sues NYPD for $50M

By Christopher Coble, Esq. on April 08, 2016 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

A year ago today, NYPD officers arrested Atlanta Hawks forward Thabo Sefolosha and teammate Pero Antic outside a club in the Chelsea neighborhood. Police threw Sefolosha to the ground and placed him in cuffs so forcefully he broke his tibia and suffered ligament damage in his right leg.

Now Sefolosha is suing the NYPD and the five officers who arrested him, claiming extensive injuries and damages based on false arrest, excessive force, and malicious prosecution.

The Incident

Earlier that night, Indiana Pacers forward Chris Copeland was stabbed at the club Sefolosha and Antic were at. Police say that they had established a crime scene and Sefolosha did not leave the scene quickly enough. They also charged him with resisting arrest.

Sefolosha contended he was a safe distance from the scene, and that he was trying to give money to a homeless person when officers tackled and arrested him. A jury acquitted Sefolosha of the resisting charge after just an hour of deliberation.

The Injuries

The verdict in the criminal case may not have much effect on the outcome of Sefolosha's civil suit. Just because one jury decided that he was not guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of resisting arrest doesn't mean a different jury will find it more likely than not that officers negligently or intentionally caused his injuries.

Speaking of those injuries, they sound far more extensive than previously reported. Courtesy of Sports Illustrated, quoting Sefolosha's filing, the baller suffered:

"... an injury to his right leg and other parts of the body; fracture of right fibula; required surgery with insertion of hardware; torn ligaments; cosmetic deformity; scarring; extreme pain and suffering; mental anguish and distress; psychological injury; required hospital and medical care and attention, and will require such care and attention in the future; requires physical therapy; required to wear a boot and cast; osteoarthritic changes are anticipated; had difficulty standing; difficulty ascending and descending stairs; unable to attend to his usual duties, leisure activities and vocation; has become partially disabled; required medical care and treatment and will require such care and treatment in the future; plaintiff's career has been adversely affected; plaintiff's reputation has been harmed; plaintiff suffered emotional harm and mental anguish and distress; and plaintiff has been otherwise damaged, all of which damages are permanent in nature and continuing into the future."

That could easily add up to the $50 million Sefolosha is seeking.

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