By now, we hope you’re familiar with what happened to Thabo Sefolosha outside of the New York City nightclub 1 Oak back in April. A short time after his fellow NBA player Chris Copeland was stabbed outside the club, Sefolosha was arrested by a group of NYPD officers who broke Sefolosha’s leg in the process. He was eventually found not guilty of three serious charges, and he is reportedly going to file a hefty lawsuit against NYC and the NYPD as a result of what took place.
The Hawks star spoke with GQ for their December 2015 issue and detailed the entire incident for them in his own words. The entire piece, which you can find here, is worth a read and features Sefolosha talking about how one officer in particular seemed to bully him during the incident. According to him, a group of police officers threw him on the ground after he attempted to give $20 to a homeless man outside of 1 Oak—and that’s when he believes the officers took things too far and assaulted him. Here’s an excerpt from the GQ piece:
I was just getting into a livery cab—one of the cops opened the door and said, "Get out of here"—when a homeless man asked me for money. I took out twenty bucks. When I made a few steps toward the guy, an officer said, "You're going to jail." Pero tapped the officer on the shoulder and said, "Relax, he didn't do anything." Another officer pushed him in the chest and he fell. That's what the first YouTube video showed—him on the floor.
More officers started grabbing me. I was trying to put the money back in my pocket. Usually I don't carry that much, but I had six or seven hundred dollars in my hand. One officer pulled me from my right arm, another grabbed me on my left, and another grabbed me on the back of my neck. I'm in, like, an on-a-cross type of position. I couldn't even move. It was just chaos. I had never been arrested before. I understood a little bit late that they were trying to put me on the ground, but if somebody grabs your arms and pulls you on your neck, you fall face first.
Somebody kicked my leg, more than once, from the back to force me to the ground. I knew something had happened as soon as they did it; I'm an athlete, so I know how my body should feel. They were stepping on my foot, too, I guess to try to keep me there. I didn't feel like there was anything I could do to calm it down. I tried to show them I was cooperating. I tried.
At the end of the piece, Sefolosha explains why he thinks more people need to pay attention to what happened to him.
“It was an act of police brutality,” he says, “and I believe it could happen to anyone.”
That statement sounds all too familiar. We'll continue to provide you with updates related to Sefolosha's lawsuit.
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