Given the current climate in America, where the news thoroughly reports on seemingly every instance of police brutality, alleged or confirmed, I expected the Thabo Sefolosha case to get plenty of attention, especially since it was held in New York City.
Sefolosha, a player for the Atlanta Hawks, suffered a broken leg back in April when he was pressured by several members of the New York Police Department to leave a crime scene outside a club. He was there with fellow Hawk (who has since been released) Pero Antic, and at the club that night, another NBA player was stabbed, though he was not with Antic and Sefolosha.
On Friday, the NYPD’s case against Sefolosha was quickly dismissed, and he was found not guilty of all three charges against him, including “resisting arrest,” according to the Nation.
(Also read: What’s really going on with Roddy White?)
As the trial progressed, some fairly stunning details came out. According to the testimony, Sefolosha was trying to give a beggar some money and leave in a car service when he was approached by a police officer who earlier threatened to beat him up if he didn’t leave the scene.
“With or without a badge, I’m going to f— you up and I can f— you up,” the officer, John Paul Giacona, allegedly told Sefolosha, the Nation also reported.
Shortly after he reached out a $20 bill to give to the beggar, Sefolosha was quickly surrounded by as many as a half-dozen police officers and had his leg broken in the process. According to the testimony, Sefolosha called Giacona a “midget” during the initial confrontation.
While far from the most important consequence of that ugly night, the injury did cost Sefolosha a chance to play in last year’s NBA Playoffs with the Hawks, and Atlanta lost a key defensive bench player who would’ve likely been valuable against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
This case was a pretty big deal, yet there didn’t seem to be much mention of it in the big-time sports media. The bloggers covered it well, but it was surprising how little the big dogs seemed to care about a case of alleged police brutality involving an active NBA player.
Perhaps that’s because he just plays for lowly Atlanta. It would be hard to imagine this story getting such little attention if it were Thabo Sefolosha, New York Knick.
Photo: AP/Seth Wenig