Thabo Sefolosha is ready to give back after reaching a $4 million settlement of his lawsuit against five New York City police officers that claimed false arrest, excessive force, malicious prosecution, and false imprisonment.
The Hawks forward said in a statement released Friday he's ready to put the incident behind him and will make a "substantial" donationto Gideon’s Promise, an Atlanta-based nonprofit that helps support and train public defenders across the country.
"I would like to thank my family and friends, Coach Bud (Mike Budenholzer) and the entire Atlanta Hawks organization, the NBA and the NBA Players Association, my agents Guy Zucker and Herman Manakyan, and my attorney throughout this process, Alex Spiro," Sefolosha wrote, via the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "The support that I received over the past two years from each was invaluable and something that I will never forget.
"It is an extremely gratifying feeling to know that justice has been served and that now, finally, I can truly put this behind me. To fight for what is right and be fully exonerated and vindicated is both satisfying and very humbling.
"We are all aware that there are still too many cases of police brutality today. So many of these cases go unnoticed or unreported; so many victims do not have the means to fight for justice as I could. It’s unfair.
"While I alone can’t bring the type of change needed to eliminate these issues, I want to help make a difference. A substantial portion of my settlement will be donated to Gideon’s Promise, an Atlanta-based nonprofit that helps support and train public defenders across the country.
"On their website, it reads 'We are the voice for the voiceless.' I hope my donation can help give many more people a voice to fight for justice as I did."
Sefolosha had been seeking $50 million after he suffered a broken right fibula with ligament damage during his arrestApril 8, 2015 outside the 1 Oak nightclub in Manhattan. He missed the rest of the 2014-2015 season and playoffs, but did return to play in 75 games during the 2015-16 season and has appeared in 60 games this season.
Sefolosha rejected a plea deal that would have dismissed the charges, electing instead for a trial, and was acquitted by a jury in October 2015.