Because, in 2015, it happened to him when he was injured by New York police and was wrongly arrested.
Sefolosha, 36, is a 14-year-old NBA veteran in Switzerland who spent this season playing for the Houston Rockets before the Covid-19 pandemic brought the season to a close. On Wednesday in Atlanta, he told CNN that he could see himself at George Floyd, who was killed in police custody in Minneapolis.
“I think every black man in America, in my opinion, in the 14 years that I have lived here, can feel that,” said Sefolosha. “It’s the ultimate bullying. … I think it’s just an abuse of power that you saw in bullying in preschool and college, and it’s at such a high level that people have to get fed up with it and something has to be done about it. “
In the early hours of April 8, 2015, Sefolosha, then with the Atlanta Hawks, and then his teammate, Pero Antic center, of Macedonia, were arrested near the stabbing scene of the then Indian Pacers striker , Chris Copeland and two women outside. a New York nightclub.
Police said Sefolosha and Antic were not involved in the stabbing incident, but were charged with crimes, including disorderly conduct and obstructing government administration.
Shortly after the incident, TMZ released a video showing a group of police officers arresting the 6’7-inch Sefolosha and bringing it to the ground. He also shows that an officer in this group pulls out a stick and spreads it near him, but what may have caused the injury is not clear in the video. Sefolosha seems to limp as the officers take him away.
Sefolosha, who suffered a fibula fracture and ligament injuries during his arrest, said after the incident that the police injured him. He was forced to miss the rest of the 2015 regular season and the entire playoffs.
A New York jury found Sefolosha not guilty on three counts of crime. The charges against Antic, who is white, have been dismissed. Sefolosha subsequently settled a lawsuit against five police officers for $ 4 million.
“It all happened so quickly that right now, it was just being myself, really, being respectful, and at the same time defending a position that I had the right to defend,” Sefolosha told CNN . “Everything degenerated so quickly that it was difficult to just – look back, just sit in a cell and say,” OK, I didn’t do anything wrong. “”
Later, he added, “Really, this is bullying at a high level. And it frustrates everyone. I think you now see it just with the protest and the level of anger that people have. I think it’s just enough it’s enough. “
As to why things escalated in her case that night in New York, Sefolosha said it was because of “poor training”.
“Ego is embarrassing, you know, and I think that’s one of the main problems when you’re a police officer,” said Sefolosha. “You are asked a lot as a public servant, as a person who is here to defend the community. And I think it should be taken with pride and with more humanity, as long as you do a job here for people and understand that everyone lives a lot.
“But as an officer, you are the one who has the training. You are the one who is supposed to calm the situation down and realize what is happening in a fraction of a second, you know? And too often, that is not respected. ” . “
We asked Sefolosha what came to mind when he saw the Floyd video.
“Anger,” said Sefolosha. “And the feeling of just being totally disconnected. How can a human being do this to someone else and sit on their neck for nine minutes? Intentionally in broad daylight killing someone like that. And the anger spreads to the other officers who are just watching. What is your purpose in life? Why did you decide to become a police officer? Everything should be questioned at this point. So I can’t really blame them. people who are on the street just angry.
“I just want the management to be a little more streamlined and people to know exactly what the message is, why they are fighting and what they want exactly after the demonstration. We can protest for six years. You protest and something has to come to an end, you know? But what is the message? What is the exact end of it all? “