Newly released video shows that a California police officer who in February filed a lawsuit against Toronto Raptors president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri alleging he assaulted the officer on June 14, 2019, incited the altercation himself.
The video was included in a countersuit filed by Ujiri. It shows Alameda County Sheriff’s Deputy Alan Strickland getting physical with Ujiri moments after the Raptors won Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals.
Ujiri filed the suit Tuesday, August 19, in US District Court in Oakland, California. The incident occurred moments after the Toronto Raptors defeated the Golden State Warriors 114-110 to capture the team’s first NBA championship in history at the Oracle Arena. According to ESPN, Ujiri was making his way to the court to celebrate the victory with his team when he encountered Deputy Alan Strickland, who was working as a security guard for the event.
The newly released video, captured by Strickland’s body camera, shows Ujiri walking toward the court and reaching for his team credentials in order to pass by and gain access to the court. The pair exchange words, and Ujiri attempts to identify himself to Strickland. Strickland grabs Ujiri’s jacket and pushes him, yelling, “Back the f*** up!” Ujiri responds verbally; Strickland again pushes Ujiri, and the two engage in an altercation, which is visible in overhead footage included with the suit.
Immediately after the incident, Alameda County Sheriff Greg Ahern requested Ujiri be charged with battery of a peace officer, claiming Ujiri struck Strickland’s jaw and shoulder. However, no charges were pressed after a months-long investigation.
In February, Strickland filed a suit alleging that Ujiri assaulted him 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.”
Ujiri’s countersuit states that Strickland ignored Ujiri’s attempts to show him his credentials.
“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,” the suit states. “Mr Ujiri’s defensive response was a reasonable and justified reaction to M. Strickland’s use of unnecessary and excessive force.”
In a statement released on Tuesday, the Toronto Raptors said the new video proves that Ujiri “was not an aggressor, but instead was the recipient of two very violent, unwarranted actions.” Credit: Cotchett Pitre & McCarthy LLP via Storyful