When the Toronto Raptors won the NBA championship last season, team president Masai Ujiri attempted to make his way onto the court at Oracle Arena to celebrate with his players.
However, San Francisco Bay Area police officer Alan Strickland denied Ujiri access, which led to a pushing match between the two. Strickland later filed a lawsuit that alleged that Ujiri was the instigator of the incident.
On Tuesday, new body cam footage was released that puts Strickland’s account into serious doubt.
Ujiri attempted to show his team’s credentials in order to get on the court, yet was quickly shoved by Strickland. Seconds later, Strickland shoved Ujiri a second time.
In Strickland’s lawsuit, he claimed that as a result of the incident, he sustained injuries to his head, jaw, chin and teeth. Ujiri never had criminal charges filed against him regarding the altercation.
Now, Ujiri has filed a countersuit. This video is sure to play an important role in helping the court decide who the true victim of the altercation was.
“After being shoved and cursed at, Mr. Ujiri did not respond aggressively towards Mr. Strickland,” the lawsuit read. “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.”
The Raptors released a statement following the release of the footage, putting their whole support behind Ujiri.
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
Over the last several years, Ujiri has helped make the Raptors into perennial contenders. After trading for superstar Kawhi Leonard in the summer of 2018, Toronto finally broke through and won it all.
Although Leonard left to join the Los Angeles Clippers last summer, Ujiri’s squad still appears to have a real shot at making it back to the NBA Finals this year.