In an interview with GQ, Atlanta Hawks swingman Thabo Sefolosha claims that he was a victim of police brutality. He concedes he called a cop a “midget” and said “I can f— you up.”
Breitbart Sports reported last week that Sefolosha plans to sue the NYPD for $50 million.
On October 9, a jury found Sefolosha not guilty on charges of misdemeanor obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct, and resisting arrest stemming from an incident outside a New York City nightclub that left the Atlanta Hawks swingman with a broken right leg.
On April 8 Sefolosha and his teammate, Pero Antic, headed for 1 Oak, a popular New York City club, arriving at 2:30 a.m. Also at the club was Indiana Pacers forward Chris Copeland, who was a participant in a scuffle at around 4:00 a.m. that resulted in an attacker stabbing Copeland in the stomach.
Afterward Sefolosha and Antic gathered on West 17th Street outside the club along with hundreds of people. GQ reported that two TMZ cell phone videos show at least five officers violently forced Sefolosha, in a black hoodie, to the ground. On top of that one officer allegedly used a baton to hit him.
Sefolosha explained that one of the officers at the scene told him, “Get the hell out!” He replied, “Did I do something wrong? You can talk to me in a nicer way.” He told GQ that he didn’t understand “why the officer had to come at us so hard when there were so many other people around. We moved, but he kept telling us to get the hell out. I told him we were listening to him: You are the police, but you don’t have to act like you’re the toughest guy on earth.”
The 6’7” native of Switzerland than told the officer, “With or without a badge, I can f— you up.” But Sefolosha admitted that he’s “the last guy who gets physical with anybody, especially the police.” Because he felt singled out by the officer, he insulted him, saying “You’re a midget, and you’re mad.”
Sefolosha said that after he left the scene he saw a homeless man who asked him for money. “I took out twenty bucks,” he said. “When I made a few steps toward the guy, an officer said, ‘You’re going to jail’…. One officer pulled me from my right arm, another grabbed me on my left, and another grabbed me on the back of my neck.”
What happened next cost Sefolosha the rest of his season and a broken leg. “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.”
Police officers at the scene claimed that Sefolosha hadn’t cooperated when they told him to leave the scene and became so aggressive that he “charged” at them.