Monday November 23rd, 2015

The Civilian Complaint Review Board in New York has substantiated charges of unlawful abuse of authority against police officers who arrested Atlanta Hawks swingman Thabo Sefolosha last spring, according to Kevin Arnovitz of 

The board ruled that officers JohnPaul Giacona and Richard Caster exercised unlawful abuse of authority by threatening to use force during the arrest, according to Arnovitz. The board, an independent government agency that examines police behavior, determined the officers did not use physical force unlawfully. 

A loss of five vacation days was reportedly recommended as the disciplinary action for officer Giacona. Officer Caster was recommended for formalized training. The punishments will be determined by New York City police commissioner William Bratton. 

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The officers’ conduct is also being investigated by the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau. 

Sefolosha was arrested in April outside a New York nightclub and suffered a broken fibula and several torn ligaments in the process. He was charged with obstructing governmental administration, refusing to clear the area of a crime scene, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct, but was found not guilty on all charges in October. 

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After his arrest, Sefolosha was held in a police precinct for 12 hours before he could receive medical attention. The injury forced him to miss the rest of the season, including Atlanta’s playoff run to the Eastern Conference finals. 

Sefolosha described the incident as “an act of police brutality” in a GQ piece and filed a civil rights lawsuit.  

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Sefalosha has returned to the court this season and is averaging 6.9 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.3 assists for the 9–6 Hawks.

- Christopher Chavez

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