It’s too late to save season but Sefolosha deserved to hear words, ‘Not guilty’

Thabo Sefolosha, center, leaves criminal court in New York, Friday. The Atlanta Hawks’ player was acquitted in a case stemming from a police fracas outside a trendy New York City nightclub last April. (AP photo)

Thabo Sefolosha, center, leaves criminal court in New York, Friday. The Atlanta Hawks' player was acquitted in a case stemming from a police fracas outside a trendy New York City nightclub last April. (AP photo)

Thabo Sefolosha, center, leaves criminal court in New York, Friday. The Atlanta Hawks’ player was acquitted in a case stemming from a police fracas outside a trendy New York City nightclub last April. (AP photo)

Thabo Sefolosha was offered a deal last month. A great deal. The Hawks’ forward could have accepted minimal culpability for the skirmish with police that resulted in him suffering a broken leg last April and missing the NBA playoffs by serving just one day of community service. In exchange, all obstruction of justice, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct charges would be dropped.

To the surprise of many, he turned down the offer because he wanted to hear the words, “Not guilty.”

Sefolosha got his wish Friday. A jury in New York acquitted him of all charges. He then told AJC correspondent Danny Knobler, “I want to assure (the jury) this was the right verdict. They were on the side of truth and justice.”

Here’s a link to Knobler’s full story on MyAJC.com.

The only question now is whether Sefolosha seeks a max contract — from the city of New York. He would have a strong case if he filed a civil suit but said he has not yet decided whether to do so. He said during the trial he is still not fully recovered from the injury. 

These are uneasy times for law enforcement officials. I fully support police and understand they have extremely difficult job. But it was clear from the outset New York police overreacted in the Sefolosha case, causing his injuries that forced him to miss the Hawks playoffs. The police — and the police alone — were responsible for this mess.

Prosecutors obviously agreed. If they believed Sefolosha and teammate Pero Antic were at fault for a skirmish outside of a New York nightclub, they would not have dropped all charges against Antic and offered Sefolosha a sweetheart deal that effectively would allow him to walk with nothing on his record.

In fact, by the time the trial started, prosecutors had softened their deal even more: They offered a deferred dismissal without the mandate to serve any community service. The deal also would not have precluded Sefolosha from filing a civil suit. Prosecutors clearly just wanted this case to go away. But they probably balked at walking away from charges because of appearances that they were abandoning the police, especially against the backdrop of of so many cases of alleged police abuse around the county.

Sefolosha did not want to leave anybody with the impression that he was somehow responsible. He deserved that.

According to Knobler, when the case went to the jury Thursday, Selfolosha attorney Alex Spiro said in his summation, “You know what the public disturbance is? It’s when they’re smashing [Sefolosha] to the ground.”

It’s too late to save Sefolosha’s season, but  at least he heard the words he wanted: Not guilty.

Recent ramblings
Weekend Predictions: No fantasy, Chihuahuas will rebound (I think)
Braves may have a plan but it will be a while before masses buy in
Here’s your Depressed Braves Fan viewing guide to the postseason
Overeaction Monday: Now is not time to make decision on Richt
Falcons 4-0, Freeman 7 TDs — who didn’t see that coming?
• Short takes: An easy Falcons win, and this is a team to take seriously
Richt and Georgia fall off stage again when it matters most
Short takes: Georgia’s reality check — there’s a problem at quarterback
Georgia needs win over Alabama to alter perceptions
Weekend Predictions: Nothing sinister here – Dogs over Bama
Georgia hired Jeremy Pruitt for games like this
Nationals are a more attractive mess than the Braves
Overreaction Monday: Georgia may be 4-0 but season starts now
Georgia now can prepare for opponent that matters most: Alabama
Short takes on Georgia’s win over Southern
Weekend Predictions: Lilly takes the lead and likes Falcons
Falcons’ fourth-quarter fizzles absent so far under Dan Quinn
Braves have been more adept at building off field than on it
Overreaction Monday: Are things as they seem with Falcons, Dogs, Jackets?
Georgia chases away Spurrier demons with dominating performance
Short takes: Lambert says, ‘I just had to go through a rough patch’
Georgia can’t blow game, Tech can’t blow chance
Tech over Irish, Georgia over South Carolina (but not by 17)
Tech has something Georgia would like — comfort at quarterback position
An impressive opening by Dan Quinn’s new Falcons
Short takes: Gruden praises Falcons’ defense after win
Georgia looks like a shaky 2-0 with its passing game
Short takes: Another Georgia win but QB issues continue
Weekend Predictions: I can’t block this Falcons’ upset from my brain
Poll: I say 9 wins for Falcons, national media mixed, what say you?
Falcons’ late roster scramble not a good sign
Fredi Gonzalez needs to make more of his losing hand
Lambert good but didn’t do enough to cement starting job
Lambert, lightning and the joy of Keith Marshall
Kennesaw State’s little startup off to a dazzling start
Weekend Predictions: Dogs, Jackets roll, Spurrier escapes, Petrino goes down
Falcons won Julio Jones trade but would like to forget 2012 draft

Reader Comments 0

94 comments
dadofseven
dadofseven

Selfish-losa was not completely innocent. He was stupid enough to be out drinking at 4AM on a game day. Now, what is he innocent of? He's an idiot! He doesn't deserve a pass on anything. After a great regular season, this bonehead move like the Eugene Robinson move of '97 leaves Atlanta sports teams still living under the curse. The Hawks best year was last and this year's team is doomed! 

Wreck13
Wreck13

The AJC is SUCKING MORE AND MORE EVERY WEEK.

No Live UGa GAME Blog?

No Live Falcon GAME Blog?

At least Ken S. is doing the Live TECH Game Blog!



I guess the AJC spent all their money on the MUTTCOUNTY Blog to actually now have LIVE GAME DAY BLOGS.

WW5
WW5

at the moment you need a cop, he is 10 minutes away.  protect yourself.

gulfwavesgary
gulfwavesgary

I said it then and I will say it again. What the heck were he and the other one( it's not my fault) Antic doing at a bar drinking at 4am on a game day. From personal experience I know that many cops are thugs with guns and badges,.but they did make you be at a bar drinking at 4AM.

RangeRover
RangeRover

@gulfwavesgary

Agreed, but did you for a moment think the liberal Schultz who works for a liberal rag would have mentioned this?  Didn't suit his agenda!

Wilbo
Wilbo

I knew you'd celebrate this, Schultz, you low life piece of dung.

maxman2660
maxman2660

police officers certainly have a dangerous,sometimes thankless,but vital job,but because of the low pay sometimes you don't attract the best and the brightest,get a badge and gun goes right to their heads,like the idiots in this case

39Concepts
39Concepts

the dude's lucky those police didn't shoot or strangle him---they don''t like backtalk from minorities when barking orders.

TomGaff
TomGaff

@SurfConcept Hey dude, go be one of those cops for about a week and let's see if your attitude changes? My guess is you do not have the guts! Your thing is hiding in your mom's basement or the library with your PC. Walk the walk and then talk the talk, until then STFU!!!

Peachs
Peachs

Screw Sefolosha suing the city of NY I think there should be a class action suit from the fans of the Hawks who may very well have ran out of bodies at the end of the playoffs and certainly could have used the defense Sefolosha brought to the table. He has got money and now God bless him his reputation, but in this small window that will never be again since we have tossed Ferry out on his ear for winning and people in the Hawks organization actually being jealous of a winner, which is not a good trait for a professional ball team and this window will never be formed again because of this flaw, we the fan are the ones injured. I wonder if we had won the championship would Ferry had been fired?  

WAITUNTILNEXTYEAR
WAITUNTILNEXTYEAR

This selfish thug deserved to miss the remainder of last season with his late night adventure.  Sad part is, the Hawks will never see that level of success again.  One and done, write it down.  Too many better teams in the East and the clock has struck midnight already.  Pull for the Cavs to win their first of many titles this year.

Kelvin59
Kelvin59

Congrats Sefolosha, now stay out of the clubs @4am when you have a game that same night. You'll have plenty of time to do that sort thing on your off nights or better yet in the off season. The clubs are not going anywhere.

WAITUNTILNEXTYEAR
WAITUNTILNEXTYEAR

@Kelvin59  And staying out until 4:00 a.m. on a game day helps his team?  Help me to understand how this guy even cares one bit about his "team". 

GT71
GT71

Shameful.  Complicit?  Schultz and all the others who pile on.  Looking at the facts, he DID obstruct.  He DID cause an 'altercation' by not heeding the police's correct and LEGAL instructions.  The jury - well, they certainly are his 'peers' apparently.

And then some ditzy lib 'journalist' (not that Schultz is alone) writes a column praising this uncouth 'gentleman' for standing up for his rights - those rights which, apparently, include not obeying and thereby obstructing the legal directions and duties of the police force.

Nice contribution to the advancement of mankind, there Jeff.  Bet you'll get a lot of high-5s and maybe a few free drinks at a downtown Atlanta bar.  Welcome, again, to the monkey house.

1Robert
1Robert

@GT71 What do you know that the prosecutors do not ?  Why did they not try to throw the book at him and what do you know that the jury did not.  You whine about Jeff Schultz quite a bit, was he the jury in this case ?

Was Schultz the judge ?

bigdoggie1
bigdoggie1

Lawyer up, Thabo, and get some of that FOP money! 

Those thug cops picked the absolute wrong person to screw with: a well-spoken, intelligent brother from Switzerland with LOTS OF MONEY!!

File a civil suit and take 'em for all you can! It's the only way to get their attention!

I'm so tired of this militarization of the police and it's service to the 1%'ers!

But, for all intents and purposes, America IS an Oligarchy!

Get 'em , Thabo!!!

KeepinItSimple
KeepinItSimple

I fully support police officers as well.  When they ask you to move out of an area and you are not guilty of anything ... DO IT.  They are not asking for their own health or because they hate you.  They are trying to do their job.  That was a scene of a crime and they had no reason to disobey other than the fact they just think they are above the law.  I am so sick of all these people resisting arrest and disobeying SIMPLE requests and then stating they are victims.  Worse yet are the people that back them.


The police had no idea if people in the area were the attackers in this case, and needed to keep the area clear for emergency and crime scene personnel.  All Theo had to do was obey a simple request.  I might think differently if the request was something ridiculous, but it was as simple as 'step away from this area as it's a crime scene'.


What sickens me is the jury backed him.  What a bunch of spineless morons.  If that had been a relative bleeding out and the paramedics couldn't get in quick enough due to Theo standing in the way how would they have backed him then?  And remember, dropping the charges should not have had anything to do with the officers behavior after the fact.  That should have been decided separately. 

John H. Long
John H. Long

Read more about the trial and the situation. There were crowds of other people much closer to the scene (this all happened at least 80 feet away from the crime scene), but these officers weren't concerned with them, only the big black guy who didn't take their attitude in a properly subservient manner.

KeepinItSimple
KeepinItSimple

@Rufus McGillicuddy  I agree with you Rufus, not all policemen are good people, but I will flat out guarantee you that a higher percentage of them are good people than the scum constantly playing 'victims of the police'.  And when I say scum, I mean of all races, genders, and religions. 


People may not like to hear it, but most criminals are ... hold your breath .. criminals.

TomGaff
TomGaff

Police across the country, please guys go on strike! The public does not give a hoot about you. They don't care if some 6'5, 300Lb 18 year old wants to attack you or some pro basketball 6'8" player tries to bully and insult you! They just don't care until they need you, let them fend for themselves, the law of the jungle is what they want!! It will not bother me(or others like me) because if you come into my house. I will blow your a-s away in a second. Your days of being a repeat offender will be over then! Prehistoric times, here we come again!!

Eagle Win
Eagle Win

@TomGaff  Great idea, that segment of the population is use to jungle law anyway.

TomGaff
TomGaff

@Kenn6664 @TomGaff Perhaps someone like you Kenny will decide to be out there to protect them from the savages/predators/criminals of society? I really would like to see the day when there is no police to call for help, just imagine what society would be like at the whim of the predators/savages! How many will be robbed, raped or murdered? My guess would be hundreds of thousands, perhaps even a million victims. Just think Kenny, how guys like you could make a difference, if only you had the guts to face dangers! No more sitting on the side lines, get into the action Kenny!! I dare you man!

KeepinItSimple
KeepinItSimple

@Kenn6664 @TomGaff  Stop being a part of the problem Kenn.  The true problem is that so many people openly protect criminals, not the police. 

1Robert
1Robert

@TomGaff I agree, cops are special and if they blow away an old lady like the Atlanta cops did to Katherine Johnson then lied about it they should all get promoted,  What does one old lady's life mean in the overall scheme of things.  We should never question any arrest made by police.

Peachs
Peachs

@TomGaff the problem with guys like you are you want law and order till it is equal then you think it smells.  Obviously the cop lied or why was Sefolosha arrested, and then after being practically bribed to plead, overwhelmingly win his case?   They just couldn't say they were wrong they kept lying and now you have convicted the guy and can't get over that the lynch mob won't hang him.  I think you have the same case of jealousy the last owners had, winners really aren't you cup of tea. 

TomGaff
TomGaff

@Truthyness @TomGaff Look man, cops are just regular people like you and I. They are not Superman or Batman, just regular guys trying to do the right thing. Sometimes they have a split second to make a decision(before possibly getting killed). Could you handle that? Keep up the BS about police and educated people will no longer want to join. Then you have the less-desirable types, with crimes on their records, etc applying, since no one else will, they will get hired! Also you get what you pay for, low salaries attract low qualified type people!

TomGaff
TomGaff

@1Robert @TomGaff For your information, they went to prison for that situation! Like most liberals, you tend to leave out some things when you write on these blogs? FYI - They were under pressure from their bosses to make more arrest and confiscate more drugs. They got sloppy and relied on the word of a paid  Informant to make a case and basically screwed up. Shot the elderly lady and then planted drugs to make it appear justified. They are now paying the price in prison for their actions, what would you have had them do, if under orders from your bosses. Bottom line, THEY SCREWED UP!!!!

TomGaff
TomGaff

@Peachs @TomGaff Hey peach, stuff happens sometimes. Sometimes juries like one person over another and that influences their decision. Not right, but is real life. Are you one of those who believe OJ(for example) was Not Guilty, with all that evidence on him. The jury out there loved OJ and he would not be convicted with 5 eye-witnesses present. Not everything in life is fair or just man!

TomGaff
TomGaff

@Peachs @TomGaff By the way, my idea of Law and Order, come into my house late at nite and I'll blow your a-s away without a second thought. That way we help eliminate repeat offenders!! Have a nice day!!

Kenn6664
Kenn6664

@TomGaff They don't have to go on strike..just resign if you can't give everyone equal protection under the law.

Truthyness
Truthyness

@TomGaff Not all police are created equal! The populace does not want all cops to go on strike. Only the cops who abuse their authority. The cops who abuse their authority hide behind the hero worship like yours. They hide behind the; "thin blue line, the silent wall." Ask youself what they are silent about, maybe it is the abuse of someone you know and love!

WW5
WW5

@TomGaff  let the cops go on strike, who cares.  people protect yourself

Kenn6664
Kenn6664

Will you people please stop talking about how hard these thug cops jobs are..this is the job they chose to do just like yours and mine..if you are that afraid of your job then go to wal-mart and be a greeter or something. this is a true example of cowardness by these thugs lying and hiding behind their badges...

Eagle Win
Eagle Win

@Kenn6664  I would like to see the day when one of those crazed Negros robs you!

TomGaff
TomGaff

@Kenn6664 My guess is Kenny, you are too chicken-sh-t to try to do a cop's job? Tell the truth Kenny-boy, I will respect you more if you do! Has anyone ever tried to fight or bully you ?

Kenn6664
Kenn6664

@TomGaff @Kenn6664 ACTUALLY THEY DON'T MAKE ENOUGH MONEY FOR ME...AND AS FOR BULLYING ME I CAN DEFEND MYSELF AND DON'T NEED TO HIDE BEHIND A BADGE

TomGaff
TomGaff

@Kenn6664 @TomGaff My guess is some of them accept the job to actually try to help people, who can't seem to help themselves. Those are the ones(officers) who are really screwed up. Nobody cares about them except other cops and their own families. When they find that out, most leave the job for other occupations, like maybe the one that Kenny has?

Kenn6664
Kenn6664

@Eagle Win @Kenn6664 THEN AS A POLICE OFFICER YOU WILL DO YOUR JOB BECAUSE NEGROES PAY THEIR SALARY JUST LIKE THE TRAILER TRASH DOES

Kenn6664
Kenn6664

@TomGaff @Kenn6664 In this country its "LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL"..not who they want to pick and choose..GET IT?? GOT IT?? GOOD!!!!!!!!!

KeepinItSimple
KeepinItSimple

@Kenn6664  What a sad pathetic person you are Kenn.  Sad and pathetic. 


'Please me away from the area as we have a wounded person and need to secure it for paramedics'.  IS that UNEQUAL justice under the law?  Dozens of others MOVED away that night.  The two Hawks refused multiple requests.  It is the job of police to secure the area for emergency personnel. 


You are a flat out pathetic waste of oxygen if you try to take the Hawks side on this.  PATHETIC.  And I am a huge Hawks fan and I think this really hurt our chances, but these two were in the wrong for not obeying a simple request.

Peachs
Peachs

@Kenn6664 this country needs personalities that want to be cops, and the perks are there for these hamburger parking lot joint punks just like libraries have perks for academic types, this is not a person with a huge amount of options and his skill set usually is he likes the action and has been looking for in in dark parking lots all his life. Just like the army we need em but some adult has to control them. 

Kenn6664
Kenn6664

@KeepinItSimple @Kenn6664 The jury heard the facts you moron...sorry you cannot accept facts..calling me names will not change the FACTS!!! go back to your fox news and continue to be clueless.....

TomGaff
TomGaff

@Kenn6664 @Eagle Win Perhaps Kenny, an officer takes his time in responding to your REQUEST for help or gets lost along the way. Bad luck for you, but stuff happens in life!!

TomGaff
TomGaff

@Kenn6664 @KeepinItSimple I like Fox News dude, you know Fair & Balanced! You must be one of those Hillary/Obama types who believe in Free-Stuff to everyone at the expense of the American taxpayer? I will be so glad when Obama leaves office and returns to Kenya, which is much safer than his summer home in Chicago!

TomGaff
TomGaff

@Peachs @Kenn6664 Peaches, you just gave yourself away. You must be a card carrying member of "Black Lives Matter", the NCAAP or LGBT? Which is it, or is this Mrs Hillary Clinton, I am speaking with?

TomGaff
TomGaff

@Kenn6664 @TomGaff I believe you are BRAVE Kenny, sign up for the PD. Then write about your experiences in the life of a cop dealing with savages/predators/criminals/misfits of society. I would buy your story or book. I challenge you man!!

Eagle Win
Eagle Win

@Kenn6664 Wouldn't you have to pay taxes to do that. Ni**ers can't hold a job for two weeks.