A jury in Manhattan has found Atlanta Hawks guard Thabo Sefolosha not guilty on three charges related to his arrest on April 8 outside a nightclub for allegedly interfering with NYPD officers at the scene of a stabbing. Sefolosha, 31, reportedly suffered a broken leg during his arrest and has said he was injured by police officers; before his trial he rejected prosecutors’ offer to dismiss charges against him in exchange for community service.
Sefolosha was found not guilty of misdemeanor obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct, and resisting arrest. Police had claimed he was slow to move away from a crime scene and then “charged at an officer whose back was turned,” in the New York Times’ words. Sefolosha testified that he was not charging at police but rather trying to give money to a panhandler who was being escorted by an officer. He did admit to calling one officer a “midget.”
Sefolosha’s attorney complained during the trial that authorities had not provided him in timely fashion with police documents that, when compared with video footage of the scene, appeared to contain false assertions. The judge subsequently told jurors that they could “infer” that the documents in question contradicted officers’ trial testimony.