NEW YORK — Atlanta Hawks player Thabo Sefolosha filed a federal lawsuit against New York City on Wednesday, alleging he was unjustly arrested outside of a trendy nightclub last year during a fracas that left him with a broken leg and ended his NBA season.
The guard-forward had been arrested in April 2015 outside the 1Oak nightclub in Manhattan. Prosecutors had alleged he repeatedly disobeyed officers’ orders to leave the area around the club where another NBA player, Chris Copeland, had been stabbed.
Sefolosha claims in his lawsuit that 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, he claims in the lawsuit. Sefolosha has said he was left with a broken leg during the struggle, causing him to miss the playoffs.
The Swiss national was acquitted in October of misdemeanor criminal charges.
His lawsuit, filed in federal court in Manhattan, alleges the officers arrested him without cause and filed a false report. He is seeking unspecified damages from the city and five police officers.
Another player who was arrested during the fracas, Pero Antic, filed a lawsuit against the city and the police department last week, also alleging false arrest in relation to the fracas. Charges against him were dropped.
A spokesman for the city’s law department said the office would review Sefolosha’s allegations once it formally receives a copy of the suit.