Atlanta Hawks guard Thabo Sefolosha blamed the New York Police Department Tuesday for the broken leg he suffered during an April 8 altercation outside a Manhattan nightclub. The 30-year-old NBA player apologized to his teammates for the attention the incident has attracted and thanked the public for their support.
“On advice of counsel, I hope you can appreciate that I cannot discuss the facts of the case. Those questions will be answered by my attorney in a court of law. I will simply say that I am in great pain, have experienced a significant injury, and that the injury was caused by the police,” Sefolosha said in a statement.
Sefolosha and 32-year-old Hawks teammate Pero Antic were at 1 Oak nightclub when Indiana Pacers forward Chris Copeland and his companion were stabbed by an assailant. Antic, however, said he and Sefolosha did not spend time with Copeland at the club. Sefolosha was arrested and booked on charges of resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and obstructing governmental administration, according to the New York Times. Police said he charged an officer “in an aggressive manner” and that multiple officers were needed to restrain him.
Videos of Sefolosha’s encounter with police appeared to show several officers drag him to the ground, before one officer hit him with a baton. A witness told TMZ Sports that Sefolosha told police to “calm down” during the confrontation. The NYPD’s Internal Affairs division has begun an investigation into potential police wrongdoing and has contacted Sefolosha’s lawyer regarding an interview, ESPN reports.
Sefolosha suffered a broken bone in his leg as well as ligament damage during the incident. He will miss the rest of the 2014-15 NBA season. Both the NBA and the league’s players union are conducting their own investigations into Sefolosha’s arrest.
“We are working with the Hawks organization and local law enforcement to obtain more information about the circumstances surrounding Thabo’s arrest,” league spokesman Michael Bass told ESPN.