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Thabo Sefolosha sues five NYC police officers

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Why Sefolosha is suing five NYC police officers (2:20)

ESPN legal analyst Lester Munson breaks down why Thabo Sefolosha is suing the five New York City police officers involved in his April 2015 arrest, and whether it's realistic to expect that he'll be able to collect the $50 million which he is seeking. (2:20)

Atlanta Hawks forward Thabo Sefolosha filed a civil suit against five New York City police officers and the city on Wednesday.

Sefolosha's suit includes charges of false arrest, excessive force, malicious prosecution and false imprisonment. Sefolosha's notice of claim, filed last year, sets $50 million as the ceiling he can be compensated for both material and punitive damages.

The suit stems from an incident on April 8, 2015 outside a Manhattan nightclub, 1 Oak, where Sefolosha and Hawks teammate Pero Antic were arrested. Officers claimed the pair were interfering with a crime scene, the place where Indiana Pacers forward Chris Copeland was stabbed in a separate incident.

Sefolosha suffered a broken fibula and ligament damage during his arrest, and missed the remainder of the regular season and the Hawks' playoff run to the conference finals.

In October, a jury acquitted Sefolosha of misdemeanor obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. Despite being offered a plea deal that would've dismissed the charges in exchange for a day of community service, Sefolosha opted for a trial to clear his name.

The 31-year-old native of Switzerland, now in his 10th NBA season, told ESPN in October he filed the notice of claim to preserve his right to sue. He said then he was uncertain he wanted to "go back into the legal system."

Sefolosha ultimately decided to proceed with a suit that alleges his reputation and image have been damaged by the incident, and that his value as a professional basketball player has been adversely affected.

The suit also alleges that the incident was "a racial matter," making specific reference to Sefolosha's African descent and the hoodie he was wearing on the night of the arrest.

Antic filed his own suit against police officers and the city. Under Antic's notice of claim, $25 million was set as the maximum amount Antic can recover.

Antic was initially charged with disorderly conduct, obstructing governmental administration and second-degree harassment. Officials dropped the charges against Antic in September. A native of Macedonia, Antic played two seasons with the Hawks before returning overseas to join Fenerbahce in the Turkish Basketball League.

Sefolosha has logged 71 games with Atlanta this season, averaging 6.6 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game, with a true shooting percentage of 58.9. He ranks second among NBA small forwards in defensive plus-minus.