Atlanta Hawks shooting guard and small forward Thabo Sefolosha sustained an injury and may have a law suit. He has officially filed suit against five New York City Police officers involved in an April 2014 incident in which he suffered a broken leg. The potentially high-profile civil rights lawsuit alleges excessive force, false arrest, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution.
Due to his injuries, Sefolosha was benched for the remainder of the season and kept out of the Eastern Conference playoffs. Eventually, he required surgery.
Now, Sefolosha is claiming that his basketball career has been jeopardized, endorsements were lost, his basketball career has been shortened and his value as a player and reputation have been adversely affected. He accordingly seeks compensatory damages for these losses and claims up to $50 million in damages.
One issue that Sefolosha may face is proving his injuries have adversely affected his earnings and future earnings as an NBA player. For instance, he did not lose money last season, as the Hawks contract guaranteed him $4.15 million for the season, regardless of whether he was healthy or injured. This same contract guarantees his salary for the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons. In order to prove his value as a player has been diminished, he will likely need to prove that his injuries related to the incident at 10ak have made him less desirable as a free agent following the 2016-17 season.
Legal Options for an Injury
Sefolosha has other legal options for his injury, should he choose to pursue them. For example, he has until April 8, 2018 to file a Section 1983 lawsuit which raises federal civil rights claims against the officers. This may be an avenue Sefolosha pursues, as he has previously noted that he feels the incident was racially motivated, given his African Descent and the hoodie he was wearing at the time.
Law enforcement and security personnel have a duty to protect our community and ensure the law is enforced.
The public rely on police offers and place their trust in them to act appropriately. While most officers uphold the public’s confidence, in rare instances, an officer may act inappropriately in carrying out their duties. This can result in tragic consequences.
At Hessig & Pohl, experienced lawyers handle cases involving injury due to excessive force and false imprisonment by local law enforcement and security personnel. Police brutality lawsuits seek to compensate the victims, and operate as a a vital safe guard in our community to ensure that the appropriate standards for the use of force are followed.