Former Thunder player suing New York City, officers following arrest
ATLANTA, Ga. – A former Oklahoma City Thunder player is now suing the city of New York City and several police officers following his arrest in April.
In April, Pero Antic and Thabo Sefolosha were arrested on charges of obstructing governmental administration and disorderly conduct following a stabbing at a nightclub.
Officers said the former Thunder player, who currently plays for the Atlanta Hawks, interfered with officers who were trying to establish a crime scene.
Sefolosha testified that he was told to leave the area around the nightclub by officers, so he moved off the block. Sefolosha says he exchanged words with a confrontational officer.
According to ESPN, he says he was trying to give a panhandler a $20 bill when he was grabbed by officers and taken to the ground.
When he was released from jail, he suffered from an obvious limp and said that he was in “great pain” and experienced a “significant injury” at the hands of officers.
Sefolosha suffered a fractured right leg from the incident.
“They arrested him,” Alex Spiro, Sefolosha’s attorney said in court. “They broke his leg out of eyeshot or earshot of an unrelated crime scene.”
However, officers say he acted entitled and was moving slowly as he left the nightclub.
Now, Sefolosha is suing the city and several police officers for assault and battery, false arrest and imprisonment.
He claims the injuries ended his 2015 NBA season just days before the his team entered the NBA Playoffs as the Eastern Conference’s No. 1 seed. Sefolosha, a stalwart defender, would’ve been tapped to guard superstar LeBron James in the Eastern Conference Finals, which the Hawks lost in four straight games.
Sefolosha also states in the lawsuit that the arrest has now jeopardized his basketball career and tarnished his reputation. “His value as a player has been adversely affected since plaintiff is now ‘damaged goods’ in the sports world,” according to the lawsuit.
Sefolosha is eligible to receive up to $50 million, according to multiple media reports.
Reached for comment, the NYPD responded, “Due to pending litigation, we will refrain from commenting on this case. Please be referred to the Law Department for comment.”
A spokesman for the New York City Law Department, said, “All the allegations in the complaint will be reviewed once we are served.”