In the long-running case between former New York Knicks player Charles Oakley and Madison Square Garden over his removal from a game in 2017 (see our prior posts here), Judge Sullivan (apparently still winding down some of his District Court cases) yesterday granted summary judgment to the defendants.
Judge Sullivan found that the video evidence made clear that no excessive force was used:
For the past three years, much ink has been spilled describing and characterizing what transpired between Charles Oakley and the security guards tasked with escorting him from Madison Square Garden during a Knicks game in February 2017. These descriptions and characterizations have had their place in the pleadings, in the Defendants’ motions to dismiss, and on appeal. But at this stage of the proceedings, the case is no longer about words. It’s about evidence.
And the undisputed video evidence conclusively demonstrates that the Garden’s security guards did not use excessive force as they escorted Oakley from the arena. To the contrary, the video clearly shows that: (1) the guards asked Oakley to leave; (2) they gave him a chance to leave; and (3) when he refused to leave, and in fact escalated the confrontation, they removed him from the Garden by using a degree of force that was indisputably reasonable and appropriate under the circumstances. No rational jury could conclude otherwise . . . .