Sefolosha’s $4 million settlement with NYPD raising eyebrows, it’s more than some men shot received


NEW YORK (AP) — Thabo Sefolosha of the Atlanta Hawks surely suffered when police officers broke his leg arresting him outside a Manhattan nightclub in 2015. He needed surgery and sat out while teammates went deep in the NBA playoffs.

But the city’s decision to settle his wrongful arrest lawsuit Wednesday for $4 million still raised eyebrows. That’s more than the city has paid out in some of its most notorious police brutality cases.

Several unarmed men shot to death by New York City police received less money.

Legal experts say the large settlement is a reflection of lost earnings potential as a professional athlete, not any judgment that his leg was worth more than a man’s life.

“His injury probably shortens a career with significant dollars attached to it,” said attorney Michael Duffy, who specializes in malpractice and other litigation but had no role in the case.

Sefalosha, a 10-year veteran of the league, was acquitted of charges he disobeyed officers’ orders to leave the area around the club following the nonfatal stabbing of another NBA player, Chris Copeland. This year he has played 60 of 77 games for the Hawks, averaging 7.3 points a game, which is slightly higher than his career average.

Here is a look at some other notable settlements of police excessive-force cases in New York, all involving black men like Sefolosha:

RAMARLEY GRAHAM: The unarmed 18-year-old was trying to flush marijuana down a toilet in his home when an officer barged into the bathroom and fatally shot him in 2012. The city paid the family $3.9 million.

AKAI GURLEY: The 28-year-old was killed in 2014 by a ricocheting bullet when a police officer, patrolling an apartment building with his gun drawn, was startled and fired into a darkened stairwell. The city settled with his family for $4.1 million.

ERIC GARNER: The 43-year-old father of six died in 2014 after being placed into an illegal chokehold by an officer trying to arrest him for selling untaxed cigarettes. The city paid his family $5.9 million.

SEAN BELL: A groom-to-be, the 23-year-old Bell died in a hail of 50 police bullets fired into his car in 2006 as he left his bachelor party at a bar. Officers mistakenly thought they saw a gun. The city paid his estate $3.3 million. Another man in the car who was shot 17 times was paid $3 million. A third victim got $900,000.

ABNER LOUIMA: The Haitian immigrant was badly beaten and sodomized with a broomstick in a police station in 1997 by officers in an attack that damaged his colon and bladder. The city and police union agreed to pay $8.7 million.

OUSMANE ZONGO: The 43-year-old artist was working on restoring African artifacts in 2003 when he was shot and killed by a police officer raiding a warehouse, looking for counterfeit goods. His family settled for $3 million.

PATRICK DORISMOND: The 26-year-old was working at a security guard at a nightclub in 2000 when he was fatally shot during a scuffle with undercover police officers who had asked him where they could buy drugs. His estate was paid $2.3 million.

AMADOU DIALLO: An unarmed African immigrant, the 22-year-old Diallo was shot to death in the vestibule of a Bronx apartment building in 1999 by officers who mistook his wallet for a gun. His mother received a $3 million settlement from the city.

LeBron James’ triple-double lifts Cavaliers past Bucks

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CLEVELAND (AP) — LeBron James scored 40 points as part of his third triple-double in four games and the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Milwaukee Bucks 124-117 on Monday night as coach Tyronn Lue began his leave of absence to address health issues.

Lue said Monday in a statement he been dealing with chest pains and loss of sleep, and that tests have offered no conclusion about what the issue is. Associate head coach Larry Drew will run the team in Lue’s absence.

James scored 17 points in the third quarter and finished with 12 rebounds and 10 assists for his 16th triple-double this season and 71st of his career.

The four-time MVP took over in the third beginning with back-to-back 3-pointers. After not getting a foul called on a third attempt, he finished Cleveland’s next possession with a massive dunk. He was fouled attempting another dunk and made both free throws the following time down.

Milwaukee cut a 17-point lead to 117-109, but James drove the length of the floor for a dunk with just over a minute left.

Cavaliers All-Star forward Kevin Love returned after missing six weeks because of a broken left hand and scored 18 points in 25 minutes. He sparked a 10-0 run in the second quarter with two 3-pointers

Giannis Antetokounmpo had 37 points and went 11 for 11 at the foul line for Milwaukee, which is seventh in the Eastern Conference. Khris Middleton had 30 points, making 11 of 16 from the field.

Milwaukee guard Jason Terry was given a Flagrant-1 foul for hitting Ante Zizic in the face with an open hand while the rookie center was putting up a shot in the lane. Zizic made both free throws, helping spark a run that built a double-figure lead.

Lue, 40, led Cleveland to the 2016 NBA championship after taking over for David Blatt midway through that season.

The Cavaliers (41-29) are third in the Eastern Conference and have endured roster shake-ups, injuries and other distractions as they try to reach the NBA Finals for the fourth straight time.

No timetable has been given for when Lue will return. He missed the second half Saturday, the second time this season he left a game because he wasn’t feeling well. Lue also sat out a game against Chicago at home in December.


Pelicans rookie Frank Jackson has another surgery, will miss entire season now

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NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The New Orleans Pelicans say rookie guard Frank Jackson won’t make his NBA debut this season after having follow-up surgery to remove residual scar tissue from earlier right foot operations.

The Pelicans say Jackson also received an injection in his foot.

The club says a specialist in New York handled Jackson’s latest procedure.

The Pelicans acquired the 6-foot-4 Jackson through a draft-night trade with the Charlotte Hornets, who selected the former Duke player with the first pick of the second round last summer.

Following the draft, the Pelicans signed Jackson to a three-year contract at the NBA minimum with two years guaranteed, but Jackson needed a second foot surgery last summer to address a setback following his initial surgery last May.

Jackson spent one season at Duke, averaging 10.9 points.


Giannis Antetokounmpo turns bad pass into ridiculous alley-oop (VIDEO)

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That is just not fair.

Milwaukee’s Eric Bledsoe threw an alley-oop pass to Giannis Antetokounmpo that was off the mark — high and behind him — but it just doesn’t matter. The Greek Freak gets up and throws it down.

It’s early, but it’s going to be hard to beat that one for dunk of the night.

League’s Last Two Minute Report backs referees (mostly) in Raptors/Thunder game

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Anyone who watched the Thunder’s win over the Raptors Sunday afternoon in Toronto — especially the final few minutes — thought it was not referee Marc Davis and crew’s finest hour. There were missed calls and three-straight ejections of Raptors players, which all seemed rather hair-trigger (especially coach Dwane Casey, who was tossed for something a fan behind him said).

The NBA’s Last Two Minute report doesn’t see it that way — it says the referees nailed it.

According to the report, there was only one missed call in the final two minutes: Carmelo Anthony held Pascal Siakam as a pass came to him with 11.7 seconds left, and that should have been called.

What about the play that set DeMar DeRozan off and ultimately got him ejected, the drive to the basket with 33 seconds left (and the Raptors down two) where DeRozan thought Corey Brewer fouled him? The report said that was a good no call:

DeRozan (TOR) starts his drive and Brewer (OKC) moves laterally in his path and there is contact. The contact is incidental as both players attempt to perform normal basketball moves….

RHH shows Brewer (OKC) make contact with the ball and the part of DeRozan’s (TOR) hand that is on the ball. The hand is considered “part of the ball” when it is in contact with the ball and therefore, contact on that part of the hand by a defender while it is in contact with the ball is not illegal.

(I didn’t see it that way, I think the contact was more than incidental, and to me looking at the replay Brewer catches some wrist and impedes the shot in a way that was not legal. Just my two cents.)

The report does not cover the ejections, which are reviewed by league operations but not part of this report.

Three thoughts out of all this:

1) Raptors fans/management/players have every right to feel the calls went against them in this game. As for calls always going against them — as DeRozan complained about after the game — 29 other teams and fan bases are convinced the officials have it out for them, too. I never bought that.

2) The Raptors didn’t lose this game solely because of the officiating. Russell Westbrook was clutch down the stretch, the Thunder were part of it, and the Raptors had other issues, too (Serge Ibaka had a rough game, for example).

3) This loss also does not say a thing about the Raptors in the postseason (even if they went a little too much isolation at the end) — this was their third game in four days, they looked tired and flat at the end. That will not be the case in the playoffs.