Atlanta Hawks guard Thabo Sefolosha has spoken for the first time since he was arrested in the aftermath of the Chris Copeland stabbing incident in New York City last week. He blames the New York Police Department (NYPD) for the broken fibula he suffered during the arrest.
Atlanta Hawks guard Thabo Sefolosha has spoken for the first time since he was arrested and injured in New York City last week.
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The Hawks issued a statement from Sefolosha on their official website on April 14:
"I would like to begin by expressing my gratitude to my family and friends, the Hawks organization and my teammates. This has been a difficult time for me and I truly appreciate the support I have received from everyone.
"I am extremely disappointed that I will not be able to join my teammates on the court during the playoffs and apologize to them for any distraction this incident has caused. I will be cheering for them every step of the way and will be diligent in my rehabilitation.
"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 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."
When The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Chris Vivlamore asked Sefolosha to comment on a video of his arrest showing an officer allegedly striking him with a baton, the Hawks guard did not give specific comments. All he said was "the video speaks for itself."
Sefolosha also did not comment on whether he filed a complaint against the NYPD or not. However, he did discuss his broken fibula injury with Vivlaomore:
"It is painful. That's all I can say. I don't want to talk on the facts or how it happened or anything like this. It's very painful and I will have surgery in the next few days and know a little bit more on the basketball stuff and when I can come back."
He also feels he's letting his teammates down, per The Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
"Yes, I totally understand and I understand the question. I am disappointed that I will miss the playoffs. I hate this feeling that I'm letting my teammates down. At the same time, I can't speak too much on it. I just hate the bad look it gives on the team."
Sefolosha also told Vivlamore he hasn't been in touch with NBA commissioner Adam Silver. However, he did say a lot of his fellow NBA players have reached out to him. He also said his Hawks teammates "have been very supportive":
"A lot of guys, actually. A lot of people have been in touch and I appreciate it greatly. A lot of people in the NBA and in the office and teammates that I have played with before.
"They have been very supportive basically saying however they can help, they are here for me. Again, it's great to have the support of the team and the organization and just being able to lean on them."
Sefolosha told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Tuesday he's learned from a legal standpoint more than anything else during this ordeal:
"What I've learned, maybe I've learned legally more than anything else. Other than that, it's unfortunate the whole situation. For me, it's great to have the support of the team and the organization and just being able to lean on them."
ESPN's Kevin Arnovitz says authorities arrested Sefolosha at the corner of 10th Avenue and West 17th Street in Manhattan's Chelsea District in the early morning hours of April 8.
Arnovitz obtained a police report from officer Johnpaul Giacona saying Sefolosha was getting in the way of a crime scene setup in front of 1OAK Club, where Indiana Pacers forward Chris Copeland was stabbed by a 22-year-old assailant.
Sefolosha's teammate, Hawks center Pero Antic, was also taken into police custody. Arnovitz says the arrests "appear to be more than 100 feet from the site of Copeland's stabbing."
ESPN sources say the Internal Affairs bureau of the New York City Police Department has reached out to a counsel for Sefolosha who will interview him as a complaining witness. Both NYPD and the Internal Affairs bureau declined comment on Sefolosha issue.
On the other hand, Arnovitz obtained a statement from NBA spokesman Mike Bass on Tuesday:
"We support Thabo during this difficult time and wish him success with his rehabilitation. The league continues to work to obtain more information about the circumstances surrounding Thabo's arrest and injury."
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