On the eve of the 2015 NBA playoffs, Atlanta Hawks guard Thabo Sefolosha had his right femur broken by NYPD officers after they arrested him outside of a New York City nightclub. He missed the duration of the postseason, and the NYPD charged him with resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, and obstruction of governmental administration
Sefolosha was cleared of all charges six months later, and he immediately sued the NYPD for $50 million on the grounds that they used excessive force when arresting him. As he saw it, the cops who broke his leg had shortened his career and cost him future endorsement deals. The city settled their case with Sefolosha today, paying him $4 million to drop his suit.
Sefolosha says he and a cop started talking shit to each other on the night of April 8, 2015 outside a night club where fellow NBA player Chris Copeland had just been stabbed. The Hawks guard didn’t take kindly to getting yelled at, so he and an NYPD officer traded jabs before Sefolosha started walking away.
An officer came over to me and said, “Get the hell out!” I said, “Did I do something wrong? You can talk to me in a nicer way.” I didn’t quite understand why he 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.” He said, “With or without a badge, I can fuck you up.” Like, whatever. We’re not about to find out. I’m the last guy who gets physical with anybody, especially the police. At the same time, I felt singled out for no reason. He was much shorter than me. [Sefolosha is six feet seven.] I said, “You’re a midget, and you’re mad.” I voiced my opinion, but I kept moving.
After he tried to leave, Sefolosha says he was surrounded by cops who tried to provoke a reaction. He was restrained, and despite trying to defuse the situation, he was forced to the ground and held down by half a dozen cops. He says his leg got kicked from behind during the rough arrest. The arrest video, via TMZ, supports this.
Despite the settlement, the NYPD admitted no wrongdoing in the matter.