UPDATE: This morning, Thabo Sefolosha cleared of all charges and found not guilty of misdemeanor obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest this morning in New York. Read below to find out why this was an easy call for the jury to make. The next step will almost certainly be a civil lawsuit against the city.
NBA player Thabo Sefolosha had his leg broken by the New York Police Department, an undisputed fact that is still stunning to contemplate. This week, Thabo has been in criminal court as prosecutors attempt to imprison him for the crime of “resisting arrest.”
In actuality, he is being prosecuted for not going away quietly, choosing instead to fight back.
And fight back he has. We learned this week that the prosecution, in an effort to make this go away, offered a plea deal where Thabo would just have to do a day of community service and all would be forgiven. They did not want this going to trial. They did not want a civil case, much more dicey for Thabo if he had pleaded guilty. They did not want a light shined on events of last April in the wee hours of the morning.
They did not want this, but Thabo Sefolosha demanded it, even with the risk of a much harsher punishment.
We also learned that Thabo would take the stand to proclaim his innocence, a rarity in a criminal case. It marked the first time that Thabo had given, in full, his account of what took place outside a Manhattan nightclub called 1 Oak last April.
Thabo described a scene where he was walking away from a melee outside the club alongside (white) teammate Pero Antic and two women. He talked about being singled out and followed by a police officer named John Paul Giacona who said to him, “With or without a badge, I’m going to fuck you up and I can fuck you up.” He then said they attacked him when he extended his arm to give money to a homeless person who went by the name “True.”
“I said, I’m just going to give the guy some money,’” Sefolosha said. The officer “grabbed my arm. I dropped the money. He said, ‘That’s it, you’re going to jail.’ I turned and tried to put my right hand behind my back. I had a lot of money in my left hand and I tried to put it in my pocket.
“Two or three officers were pulling me. I said, ‘Relax.’ They never gave me a direct order. One is pulling on my right. One is pulling on my left and someone had a hand on my neck. After five seconds, I realized they wanted me on the ground. I felt my leg going up, with somebody kicking me on my right leg.”
The three people who were with Thabo, including Pero Antic, all testified to this version of events. They said Thabo was targeted and attacked.