Folks are outraged after newly released footage backs suspicions that Toronto Raptors President Masai Ujiri wasn’t the aggressor in a 2019 altercation with a cop.
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.
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