On Friday, after swingman Thabo Sefolosha was found not guilty on all counts related to an early morning incident outside a New York City nightclub last April, the Atlanta Hawks player issued a statement (viewable below) in which he questioned why the justice system had forced him to go to such great lengths to prove his innocence over the past six months -- despite a lack of incriminating evidence against him.
He also took the time in particular to express his concern for other people less fortunate than him, who face this kind of systemic discrimination without the means to adequately defend themselves. His statement read in part:
It’s troubling to me that with so much evidence in my support that this case would even be brought to trial and that I had to defend myself so hard to get justice. It pains me to think about all of the innocent people who aren’t fortunate enough to have the resources, visibility and access to quality legal counsel that I have had.
Sefolosha testified this week that he had been trying to hand money to a homeless man when police officers forced him to the ground outside the 1Oak nightclub, a scuffle in which Sefolosha suffered a season-ending leg fracture and one that both he and his lawyer believe to have come about in part because of his race. He was found not guilty of misdemeanor obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest on Friday.
While the trial is over, Sefolosha’s rehab is not, and it remains unknown whether he’ll be able to take the court with his teammates on Oct. 27, when the Hawks face the Detroit Pistons in their regular season debut.
Here is his statement in its entirety:
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