Thabo Sefolosha found not guilty of charges stemming from nightclub incident
Atlanta Hawks guard Thabo Sefolosha was acquitted on Friday of various charges stemming from an incident outside a nightclub in New York City back in April.
The Associated Press reports that Sefolosha was found not guilty of misdemeanor obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. A Manhattan jury deliberated for less than an hour before reaching a verdict.
“They were on the side of truth and justice today,” Sefolosha told reporters. “I’m just happy all this is over now and I can put this behind me, knowing my name has been cleared.”
Prosecutors claimed Sefolosha disobeyed the orders of officers who told him to leave the area around a nightclub where fellow NBA player Chris Copeland had been stabbed. Sefolosha testified that he complied with the orders of a “confrontational” officer who allegedly grabbed him and took him to the ground when Sefolosha went to give a $20 bill to a man who was begging on the streets.
Sefolosha suffered a broken leg while he was being arrested after it appeared an officer struck him in the lower body. You can see a video of the struggle here.
Sefolosha admitted to standing up to a 5-foot-7 officer who he claims was being overly aggressive. The 6-foot-6 NBA veteran said he called the officer a “midget.” Prosecutors had claimed Sefolosha slowly left the scene and acted “entitled” and eventually locked his arms in front of himself so it was difficult to detain him.
Prosecutors tried to offer a plea deal that would result in charges being cleared if Sefolosha agreed to community service, but he chose to fight the charges all the way through and won.