NYC, Hawks’ Thabo Sefolosha Settle Lawsuit Over 2015 Arrest Outside Nightclub

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Atlanta Hawks player Thabo Sefolosha settled his lawsuit against New York City after he was acquitted of criminal charges stemming from a police fracas outside a trendy Manhattan nightclub that left him with a broken leg and a shortened NBA season.

The Daily News reported that Sefolosha will receive $4 million.

The guard-forward was arrested in April 2015 outside the 1Oak nightclub in Manhattan. Prosecutors said he repeatedly disobeyed officers’ orders to leave the area around the club where another NBA player, Chris Copeland, then with the Indiana Pacers, had been stabbed.

In his lawsuit, Sefolosha said he called one of the officers “a midget” before he was thrown to the ground and arrested. He testified at his trial that he moved off the block at the behest of a confrontational officer and was trying to give a panhandler a $20 bill when he was grabbed by police and taken to the ground.

The officers “attacked and jumped” on Sefolosha and one used a baton to hit him during the arrest, according to the lawsuit filed in federal court in Manhattan against the city and five police officers.

Sefolosha, now 32, said he was left with a broken leg during the struggle. The injury required surgery and caused him to miss the playoffs. The Swiss national was acquitted of misdemeanor criminal charges.

“This settlement is not a concession that Mr. Sefolosha was blameless in this matter and there was no admission of liability by the defendants,” the city Law Department said in a statement. However, it said “in light of the gravity of his injuries, the potential impact on his career as a professional athlete and the challenge for a jury in sorting out the facts in this incident, the resolution of the case was in the best interests of the city.”

A message seeking comment from Sefolosha’s lawyer wasn’t immediately returned.

Sefolosha’s then-teammate Pero Antic was also arrested, but the charges against him were later dismissed.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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