The whole incident occurred after the Toronto Raptors beat the Golden State Warriors 114-100 on June 13, 2019, to win the NBA championship. As the president of the Raptors, naturally, Ujiri wanted to hurry to the court so he can celebrate with his team.
However, Ujiri was stopped by an Alameda officer and eventually, an altercation ensued causing the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office to accus Ujiri of pushing the officer as if he was the initial aggressor. Ujiri was looking at battery charges. However, the bodycam footage shows differently.
On Tuesday, the footage was released showing Deputy Alan Strickland clearly shoving Ujiri twice before the Raptors president shoved him. At first, Strickland put his arm out to stop Ujiri from entering the court, supposedly as a way to check his credentials.
Ujiri surely had his credentials as he can be seen in the video pulling his badge out from his suit pocket. However, before Ujiri could even show it to Strickland, he’s shoved in the chest.
“Back the f*ck up,” Strickland can be heard yelling at Ujiri after pushing him.
“Why did you push me?” Ujiri calmly reacts. “I’m the president of the Raptors.”
In security footage of the incident, an onlooker grabs the deputy’s shoulder as a way to calm him down but then he pushes Ujiri a second time. This is when Ujiri shoves the cop back before the two of them are separated by onlookers.
The whole situation could have ended there, but Strickland decided to file a federal lawsuit against Ujiri, the Raptors, Maple Leaf Entertainment at the NBA alleging Ujiri shoved him so hard on the court that he suffered physical injuries to his head, chin, jaw and teeth. Strickland also filed a workers’ compensation claim saying Ujiri “circumvented” the security checkpoint and then attempted to “storm” the court and “hit him in the face and chest with both fists.”
Strickland said Ujiri had a “violent predisposition” and acted with an “evil motive amounting to malice,” according to his lawsuit and workers’ compensation claims.
Clearly, the videos show a drastic difference from Strickland’s testimony.
This is the first time the public has witnessed these clips because of their release through a federal countersuit that Ujiri filed against Strickland. He is being represented by the law firm Cotchett Pitre & Mccarthy in Burlingame, California, according to KTVU.
Up until this point, people had to rely on witness accounts of the incident and a shaky cell phone video recorded from several feet away. Witness accounts mostly corroborate what the bodycam video details.
“Mr. Strickland used unnecessary and excessive force,” Ujiri’s counterclaim states. “There was no reason to view Mr. Ujiri as a threat to anyone and no reason for Mr. Strickland to curse at Mr. Ujiri and forcefully shove him as numerous witnesses observed.”
Strickland also claims in his suit that he suffered such a “shock of injury to his nervous system” that he believes “will result in some permanent disability.” Along with physical suffering, Strickland said his “emotional well-being” also took a blow. Strickland hasn’t been back to work in over a year.
According to his suit, Strickland has been “prevented from attending to his usual occupation” and he thinks that will be the situation “for a period of time in the future.”
Of course, Strickland’s injuries are up for major questioning as well.
Ujiri’s lawyers said that on the night he went to the hospital, he showed no visible facial swelling as he had claimed in his reports to police, and they provided a photo of him showing no bruises.
The lawyers also pointed out exclusive video from KTVU in February, which showed Strickland going out for lunch with his wife, carrying boxes and utilizing a power saw in the spring outside his home.
It’s not like Strickland had a slim salary before the Raptors incident either. According to Transparent California, Strickland raked in a $224,000 salary, not including benefits, in 2018.
It’s interesting how a shove at a Raptors game can affect his “emotional well-being,” considering all this evidence.
Strickland has a history of lying as well, even before the Raptors incident. In March, KTVU revealed that Strickland was arrested in 1994 and later convicted of insurance fraud.
People on social media were outraged with Strickland after the release of the bodycam and surveillance footage.
“The Ujiri video is infuriating — of course not because I thought the police were telling the truth, but because it’s another reminder of the lengths their lies go to, even when they know there’s video evidence showing otherwise,” tweeted writer Hanif Abdurraqib.
“If the President, who just won the championship standing court side is treated this way when thousands were watching. Imagine how this officer would treat someone on the street,” tweeted Canadian politician Michael Coteau.
Check out more angered reactions to the newly released footage below.
But this Masai Ujiri video is such a disgrace and an emotional trigger. I can’t even watch it more than once. It is such a flashlight onto those instances when anyone has been literally lied on, harmed & then suffered the distress of having to defend themselves w/o the video.— IG: JosinaAnderson (@JosinaAnderson) August 19, 2020
If the President, who just won the championship standing court side is treated this way when thousands were watching.— Michael Coteau (@coteau) August 19, 2020
Imagine how this officer would treat someone on the street
Body cam video shows sheriff’s deputy shoving Masai Ujiri after NBA Finals https://t.co/DmB5TrMMG9
I really need the Raptors to run it back again this year.— The Brandon Gonez Show (@brandongonez) August 19, 2020
And when that happens, a red carpet needs to be rolled out for Masai Ujiri as he walk on the court with a standing ovation from all.
Just now seeing this video. The worst part about this isn’t that the cop acts like an ass, but that he and the department tried to smear Ujiri in the aftermath of this. Absolutely shameful. https://t.co/snL78y2fRH— Stephen Holder (@HolderStephen) August 19, 2020
The amazing detail in here is that the cop who did this, and then lied about it repeatedly, saying he was attacked, "earned $224,000 a year, not including benefits, in 2018", and has been off on sick leave ever since https://t.co/mjpdqQ5t0c— Tom Gara (@tomgara) August 19, 2020
New security video has been released from that Game 6 altercation between Deputy Alan Strickland and Masai Ujiri. It will take you all of 15 seconds to identify who the aggressor was in this situation and hint : it ain’t Masai. https://t.co/QudLiqR0lz— Kayla Grey (@Kayla_Grey) August 19, 2020
That Masai video is wildddd. Didnt even give him a chance to show his ID.— KENNY BEECHAM (@KOT4Q) August 19, 2020
Shout out to Masai Ujiri. That he’s Nigerian is inspirational to me. This really was a BS suit when clearly the guard instigated the encounter. https://t.co/6uYn1zkLva— Onome Oyaide (Male) (@OnomeOyaide) August 19, 2020
“Why are you pushing me for? ... I’m the president of the Raptors.”— Ahmed Ali (@MrAhmednurAli) August 19, 2020
Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri is being sued by a California police officer for "severe emotional and physical distress" from this?!?!
Did the cop forget he had a body cam 🤦🏾♂️
This is why people dont trust police... for a full year this officer told people Ujiri tried to attck him to get onto the court. I see a guy who keeps getting shoved for trying to join HIS team that just won an NBA championship... #MasaiUjiri https://t.co/ZSdFDcsMXa— Alexander W Tash (@Wolfie_Tash3) August 19, 2020