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Sefolosha donates 'substantial portion' of settlement

© AFP/File | This photo taken on October 7, 2015 shows Atlanta Hawks forward Thabo Sefolosha (C) leaving the courthouse after attending his trial in New York

WASHINGTON (AFP) - 

Swiss NBA player Thabo Sefolosha said Friday he will donate part of the $4 million settlement he received in a false arrest lawsuit against New York police to a non-profit that supports public defenders.

Atlanta Hawks forward Sefolosha, 32, suffered a season-ending fracture and ligament damage in his right leg after an incident outside a Manhattan nightclub in April 2015.

The Atlanta Hawks forward, who is black, required surgery and months of rest.

He said police were to blame. The police contested his account, but on Thursday New York City's law department confirmed the city had agreed to a $4 million payout.

Although the settlement included "no admission of liability" by the defendants, Sefolosha, who was acquitted of three misdemeanor charges brought against him, said in a statement that he felt vindicated.

"It is an extremely gratifying feeling to know that justice has been served and that now, finally, I can truly put this behind me," he said.

"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.

Sefolosha said he would donate "a substantial portion" of the settlement to Gideon's Promise, an Atlanta-based non-profit that supports and trains court-appointed defense lawyers 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 said.

© 2017 AFP