Last year, after the Toronto Raptors beat the Golden State Warriors 114-100 at the NBA Championship at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California, Masai Ujiri, the president of the Toronto Raptors, was involved in an incident with a police officer. Based on a lawsuit filed, the police officer claimed the NBA executive assaulted him on the basketball court that night.
The officer, Alameda County deputy Alan Strickland, had sued Ujiri for $75,000 in federal court back in February, claiming that the 50-year-old NBA executive assaulted him right after Toronto’s victory over Golden State on June 13, 2019.
According to ESPN, Ujiri filed a countersuit earlier this week against the police officer, not only denying the claims but revealing video that shows that the police officer, Strickland, was actually the aggressor in the incident. The suit was filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Oakland.
“After being shoved and cursed at, Mr. Ujiri did not respond aggressively towards Mr. Strickland,” the suit states. “Instead, he calmly asked Mr. Strickland why he had pushed him, informed Mr. Strickland he was the Raptors’ President, and held up his all-access arena credential to show it to Mr. Strickland. Rather than trying to communicate with Mr. Ujiri, Mr. Strickland chose to dismiss Mr. Ujiri’s claim that he was the Raptors’ President and ignore the all-access credential Mr. Ujiri was trying to show him. Mr. Strickland then forcefully shoved Mr. Ujiri a second time.
“Only after being unjustifiably told to ‘back the f— up’ and shoved twice did Mr. Ujiri show any response and return a shove to Mr. Strickland’s chest. Mr. Ujiri’s defensive response was a reasonable and justified reaction to Mr. Strickland’s use of unnecessary and excessive force.”
Masai Ujiri’s legal team has released body camera footage of his encounter with a security worker at Oracle Arena after the Raptors won the NBA championship. pic.twitter.com/56XWMpZy0P
— Diamond Leung (@diamond83) August 19, 2020
Strickland had alleged in his lawsuit that Ujiri assaulted him in the moments after Toronto’s victory and that as a result of the incident, he “suffered injury to his body, health, strength, activity and person, all of which have caused and continue to cause Plaintiff great mental, emotional, psychological, physical, and nervous pain and suffering.”
The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office declined to press any charges after a month-long investigation that ended with a meeting between the office, Ujiri, and his lawyers in October.
The Raptors released a statement.
“We are mindful this remains before the courts, but we have always maintained that the claims made against Masai are baseless and entirely without merit,” the statement said. “We believe this video evidence shows exactly that—Masai was not an aggressor, but instead was the recipient of two very violent, unwarranted actions. The events of that evening cast a pall over what should have been a night of celebration, and the year since.”
Raptors spokesperson on release of video footage involving team president Masai Ujiri and a Bay Area police officer in moments after end of 2019 NBA Finals: pic.twitter.com/sPq6y1tbw5
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) August 19, 2020