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Rockets’ Thabo Sefolosha speaks out on George Floyd’s killing after his own experience with police brutality in 2015

Thabo Sefolosha, George Floyd

Houston Rockets swingman Thabo Sefolosha spoke to the Associated Press in the wake of George Floyd’s death on Monday in Minneapolis.

Sefolosha said he was “horrified” by the video which showed a police officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck, with Floyd complaining about the inability to breathe. The incident has also brought back some scary personal memories.

Sefolosha was attacked by a group of New York Police Department officers outside of a nightclub in April of 2015, suffering a broken leg as a result.

While the four police officers involved in the incident were fired, Sefolosha reiterated the feeling that police departments around the country need reforming (via Tim Reynolds of the AP):

“People talk about a few rotten apples,” Sefolosha said in an interview with The Associated Press. “But you know, in my experience and from what we’re seeing, I think it’s deeper than that as a culture that’s deeply rooted in it, to be honest. That’s just my honest opinion. I think it’s really … part of a culture where it’s deeper than just a few bad apples.”

Sefolosha’s incident came about as a result of a stabbing at the nightclub he attended that night in 2015. Police arrived at the scene and told those in attendance to vacate the area. But Sefolosha said he was also harassed by responding officers.

Though the NBA veteran was arrested, the charges were thrown out almost immediately. Sefolosha would settle for $4 million as part of a lawsuit, which he would donate a an organization for public defenders.

Sefolosha said the incident changed the way in which he viewed law enforcement. Unfortunately, five years later, many of the systemic problems which perpetuate racial injustice still persist.