Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri had an extremely bittersweet moment last year during Game 7 of the NBA Finals.
As the Raptors secured the first NBA championship in the franchise’s history, Ujiri attempted to make his way onto the court to celebrate with his team, where he became involved in an altercation with Alameda County sheriff’s deputy Alan Strickland.
The officer first claimed that Ujiri had been the aggressor, leaving the officer concussed and with a “serious jaw injury.”
Of course, body cam footage released in the months since has contradicted the officer’s laughable claims, namely that Ujiri did not make any sort of attempt to identify himself. The footage clearly shows Ujiri pulling out his identification and that the officer aggressively pushed him twice without the Raptors president getting physical before bystanders jumped in to separate the men.
Ujiri released a statement addressing the incident in which he asserted his belief that the incident was a clear-cut example of anti-Black racism.
Ujiri has since filed a counterclaim in response to the officer filing a lawsuit against him. The deputy recently asked the court to dismiss the Raptors president’s counterclaim, citing his belief that he was “trying to stop a potentially serious threat.”
“Had Deputy Strickland not employed force, he would have risked having the suspect not only trespass onto the court, he would have risked the suspect quickly getting lost amid the growing crowd of folks authorized to be on the court, and potentially committing any number of possibly serious crimes,” legal documents asking to dismiss the counterclaim read. “After all, this was a high-profile sporting event, which entailed a risk of crimes ranging from vandalism to assaults on players…assaults on coaches… player-fan brawls… and even mass murder or terrorism. The same threats persisted when Mr. Ujiri continued to attempt to barge past the second time, still without showing his (invalid) credential, even after being shoved and ordered to back up.”