In the second day of the Thabo Sefolosha trial the most dramatic testimony came from Sefolosha himself who is defending himself against charges of disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and obstruction of government administration.
The Atlanta Hawks guard/forward reinforced the testimony of the police that there was chaos after three people were stabbed near the door of 1 Oak club in Chelsea, one of them Indiana Pacers forward Chris Copeland. At the scene, on 17th Street near 10th Avenue, Sefolosha got into a verbal sparring match with Officer JohnPaul Giacona whose job it was to get the crowd to disperse. At one point in his testimony, Sefolosha described the officer’s demeanor towards him as belligerently confrontational with curse filled screams spewing from his lips. Giacona, according to Sefolosha, continued his unprovoked verbal attack as he demanded Sefolosha leave the scene.
Sefolosha was following orders, he was leaving the scene. That is not in dispute. Sefolosha had moved onto 10th Avenue, waiting for his teammate Pero Antic and the Uber car that was to drive them back to the hotel. Sefolosha further testified that even as he was following the instructions of the police, Officer Giacona was still baiting him, telling him he could beat Sefolosha in a fight.
“I laughed a little bit. I said ‘You’re 5-2. If you saw me in a different place you wouldn’t say that. You’re a midget’.”
On 10th Avenue, before entering the car to take him to the hotel, Sefolosha spotted a homeless man, Amos Canty, who had earlier asked him for money. Sefolosha dug into his pocket and pulled out bills but one of the officers told him no. “I don’t understand why I wasn’t allowed to give him the money”, Sefolosha testified, still puzzled.
Then the chaos started. One officer pushed him in the back. Another officer grabbed his arms. More officers began violently pulling him.
“After they pushed me, basically it was two, three, four officers on me. After about five seconds I realized they wanted me on the ground.”
He felt a kick in his leg and he crumpled, his leg broken, ligaments torn. There was no time to put his hands behind his back.
Earlier in the day, Sefolosha’s teammate Pero Antic testified that he was waiting in the Uber car for Sefolosha to give Amos Canty money, then they could leave. All of a sudden police offficers swarmed Sefolosha. Antic went into quick response mode and ran to the cops, putting his hands on one of their shoulders, asking why.
“I see the officers pushing Thabo around for no reason”, he testified under oath. Antic was then arrested.
Officer Richard Caster told a different story. He said that Sefolosha lunged at Officer Daniel Dongvort before he was arrested.
Sefolosha will be cross-examined tomorrow and then closing arguments will begin.
photo via llananba