Atlanta Hawks player Thabo Sefolosha wants his day in court. The NBA forward filed a lawsuit on Monday accusing five New York City officers of false arrest and excessive force, the New York Times reports.
This stems from a confrontation with the officers last year. The cops were clearing a crime scene in which another NBA player, Chris Copeland, was stabbed in an unrelated incident.
The police said Sefolosha and his then-teammate Pero Antic failed to follow their orders to clear the area. In a criminal complaint, the officers accused 6-foot-7 Sefolosha of charging at an officer from behind.
Sefolosha, 31, ended up with a broken right fibula when the officers took him into custody outside a Manhattan nightclub. Authorities charged him with resisting arrest, obstruction, and disorderly conduct, according to the Times.
Rather than accept a plea deal, Sefolosha chose to defend himself in court. The athlete admitted to arguing with the officers, but denied attacking one of them. A jury agreed with Sefolosha’s version and acquitted him of all charges.
With the criminal matter behind him, the basketball player filed a civil case. According to the Times, he’s accusing the officers of violating his civil rights, filing a false report, and lying on the witness stand.
Sefolosha also alleges that the injuries harmed his career. He had surgery and rehabilitation to repair his leg and ankle, causing him to miss the 2015 playoffs.
A police spokesman told the New York Times the department would “review the allegations and defend accordingly.”
The Times also contacted the city’s Law Department, but a spokesman could not comment because his office had not been served with the complaint.