Deputy shoved Raptors executive prior to post-NBA Finals scuffle, body cam footage shows

Deputy shoved Raptors executive prior to post-NBA Finals scuffle, body cam footage shows
Posted at 11:30 AM, Aug 19, 2020

Body camera footage recorded following the Toronto Raptors' 2019 NBA Finals win shows that a California sheriff's deputy shoved Raptors team president Masai Ujiri prior to a scuffle that's led to a lawsuit.

Ujiri's legal team released the video, recorded from the body-worn camera of Alameda County Sheriff's Deputy Alan Strickland on Tuesday.

The video shows the Raptors team president reaching for his credentials as he attempts to walk onto the court to celebrate following his team's Finals-clinching Game 6 114-110 win over the Golden State Warriors in Oakland. A moment later, Strickland shoved Ujiri and told him to "back the (expletive) up."

Ujiri asked why he'd been pushed, and explained that he was the president of the team and that was trying to get on to the court to celebrate. Video released by KTVU-TV in San Francisco shows the deputy shoved Ujiri again before a scuffle ensued.

Warning: The video below contains explicit language.

Eventually, bystanders intervened and Ujiri was allowed access to the court. In the days following the game, a spokesman for the Alameda County Sheriff's office confirmed to the San Francisco Chronicle that an officer had been hit in the face by a "Raptors executive," but did not identify Ujiri.

In October 2019, the Alameda County Sheriff's office announced that it would not file charges against Ujiri over the incident.

Strickland filed a lawsuit against Ujiri, the Raptors, the team's ownership group and the NBA in February, claiming that he had suffered a "permanent disability" following the altercation.

On Tuesday, Ujiri's legal team filed a counter lawsuit against Strickland, claiming that Strickland "falsified the encounter" and attempted to frame the Raptors' executive as the aggressor in the incident. The lawsuit also counterclaims that Strickland used excessive force and assaulted Ujiri.

Ujiri's countersuit seeks nominal and punitive damages from Strickland, as well as attorney's fees.

In a statement, a Raptors spokesperson said that Ujiri had the "full backing" of the team and its ownership group.