The investigation of the April 8 night club altercation involving Atlanta Hawks players Thabo Sefolosha and Pero Antic is still in the early stages. As new evidence is discovered, the events of this night are starting to come into focus.
On Wednesday, Sports Illustrated released a report from an anonymous source claiming a police officer sparked the fracas with Sefolosha that ultimately led to his arrest and subsequent fractured tibia. From SI:
But according to the source, it was the officer who was the initial aggressor. The source said that while officers were dispersing dozens of people near the scene, one officer focused on Sefolosha, “and then he continues to track him down the block like a D-back tracking a receiver.”
At the time, the source said, Sefolosha and Antic were walking down the block to get into a car that would take them back to their team hotel. The source said Sefolosha did not run toward the cop as the complaint said. Rather, the source said “Sefolosha turns to him and asked in substance what the officer’s problem was with him.’” At this point, the source said, Sefolosha and the officer got into an argument, which led to Sefolosha’s arrest for obstruction of a governmental function, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. The arrest took place at the corner of 10th Avenue, more than 120 feet away from the scene of the stabbing at 1OAK night club.
The NYPD bureau of Internal Affairs is investigating the actions of the officers involved. With the video of the incident, Sefolosha’s access to excellent counsel, and the backing of the National Basketball Player’s Association, it will be difficult for the NYPD to come away from this incident unscathed.
Sefolosha suffered a fractured tibia and will miss the entire playoffs for the Hawks, who are the number one seed in the eastern conference. It is expected that Michele Roberts, head of the NBPA, will push hard in this case. She has been lauded by the players for her aggressive, proactive approach during her term as head of the NBPA. Roberts won’t allow the NYPD to jeopardize a player’s career without facing severe consequences.