New video footage released late Tuesday shows that an Alameda County (Calif.) deputy started the confrontation with Raptors president Masai Ujiri following Toronto’s Game 6 win over the Warriors at Oracle Arena in 2019.
The video shows Ujiri approaching deputy Alan Strickland and pulling out his credentials that would allow him to get on the floor and celebrate with his team. As Ujiri tries to pass Strickland, however, the deputy puts his arm out to slow him down, then shoves him back with both hands and tells him to “back the f— up.” Ujiri responds by saying, “Why did you push me? I’m the president of the Raptors.” Strickland then pushes Ujiri again.
Ujiri’s legal team, which released the video, claims it shows Strickland was “undeniably the initial aggressor” in the confrontation.
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
Eyewitness accounts of the incident varied slightly, but most agreed that Strickland and Ujiri engaged in a shoving match. Another video shows Kyle Lowry pulling Ujiri onto the court to celebrate the first championship in franchise history:
In July of last year, Masai Ujiri traded Kyle Lowry’s best friend.
In June 2019, Kyle Lowry made sure Toronto’s President of Basketball of Operations came out to celebrate his team’s championship. pic.twitter.com/3URZ3F20rQ
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 14, 2019
The issue might have ended then and there, but the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department claimed it would seek misdemeanor charges against Ujiri for shoving Strickland. The department also claimed to have photos of Ujiri striking Strickland.
Strickland in February also filed a federal lawsuit against Ujiri and Raptors, Maple Leaf Entertainment and the NBA, alleging the team president shoved him so hard as to cause damage to his head, jaw, chin and teeth. According to his suit, Strickland said he has been “prevented from attending to his usual occupation.”
In March, Oakland TV station KTVU reported that Strickland was arrested in 1994 and later convicted of felony insurance fraud and making false statements (a misdemeanor). Those charges were only discovered in 2005 when Strickland applied to be a San Mateo police officer. He pleaded no contest to the charge of felony insurance fraud, getting the misdemeanor dropped as part of his plea deal.
The Raptors issued a statement after the video was released. Per Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated:
Statement from Raptors on Masai Ujiri incident with police video. pic.twitter.com/OnmLsKLfjF
— Marc J. Spears (@MarcJSpears) August 19, 2020