Thabo Sefolosha Found Not Guilty in Police Incident

Thabo Sefolosha, NYPD

Thabo Sefolosha Found Not Guilty in Police Incident

Atlanta Hawks guard may pursue civil lawsuit against NYPD.

Published October 9, 2015

The court has spoken — innocent on all charges.

Atlanta Hawks guard Thabo Sefolosha was found not guilty of obstructing governmental administration, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, stemming from a wild April incident outside of a New York City nightclub which left then-Indiana Pacers forward Chris Copeland stabbed and Sefolosha with a broken leg.

NYPD officers had originally stated that Sefolosha was trying to prevent them from setting up a crime scene, but the veteran guard denied that claim and said excessive force used by cops caused him to fracture his leg and miss the Hawks' playoff run.

Sefolosha, who is still deciding whether to pursue a civil case, is glad this part is over.

“I want to assure (the jury) this was the right verdict,” Sefolosha told members of the press outside a Manhattan court Friday, as reported by ESPN. "They were on the side of truth and justice today. I'm just happy all this is over now and I can put this behind me, knowing my name has been cleared."


Sefolosha's attorneys said the police profiled him as a "Black man in a hoodie," before using unnecessary force to arrest the innocent player. That, combined with the arrest of ex-tennis star James Blake last month, would mark the second time a black athlete has been profiled and wrongfully arrested aggressively by the NYPD in a five-month span.

The National Basketball Players Association's executive director, Michele Roberts, is proud of Sefolosha for fighting the charges hurled at him instead of accepting a plea bargain.

Sefolosha, 31, missed a Hawks' preseason game Wednesday and will likely miss Friday night's as well. 

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(Photo: AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Written by Mark Lelinwalla


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