*Bodycam footage of a bay area deputy shoving Raptors president Masai Ujiri proves the officer was lying in his account of the incident.
Ujiri was sued for assaulting the sheriff’s deputy after the Toronto Raptors won the 2019 NBA championship. Attorneys for Ujiri filed a counterclaim Tuesday that included a video showing Alan Strickland, a deputy with the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, shoving Ujiri first, Washington Post reports. The NBA team said the footage proves he “was not an aggressor, but instead was the recipient of two very violent, unwarranted actions.”
Despite the newly released video evidence, the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office is reportedly sticking to its lie that Ujiri was the aggressor.
“We 100 percent stand by [the] original statement that was released that Mr. Ujiri is the aggressor in this incident,” the sheriff’s office said. “Don’t be quick to judge based off of what lawyers are saying.”
The statement comes after Strickland’s body camera video was released showing him stopping Ujiri after the Raptors defeated the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals and then pushing him as he attempts to show his credentials.
“Why did you push me?” Ujiri asks in the video. “I’m the president of the Raptors.” When he shows his credential again, Strickland lays hands on him once more and Ujiri shoves back before the two are separated.
Masai Ujiri’s legal team has released this body camera footage of his encounter with a sheriff’s deputy as he tried to walk onto the court at Oracle Arena after the Raptors won the 2019 NBA Finals.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) August 19, 2020
“After being shoved and cursed at, Mr. Ujiri did not respond aggressively toward Mr. Strickland,” the lawsuit states. “Instead, he calmly asked Mr. Strickland why he had pushed him, informed Mr. Strickland he was the Raptors’ President, and held up his all-access arena credential to show it to Mr. Strickland. Rather than trying to communicate with Mr. Ujiri, Mr. Strickland chose to dismiss Mr. Ujiri’s claim that he was the Raptors’ President and ignore the all-access credential Mr. Ujiri was trying to show him. Mr. Strickland then forcefully shoved Mr. Ujiri a second time.
“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. Mr. Ujiri’s defensive response was a reasonable and justified reaction to Mr. Strickland’s use of unnecessary and excessive force.”
In a federal lawsuit filed in February against Ujiri, Strickland claims Ujiri assaulted him and that he “suffered injury to his body, health, strength, activity and person,” causing him “great mental, emotional, psychological, physical, and nervous pain and suffering.” In the workers’ compensation claim he filed, the officer alleged Ujiri “circumvented” the security checkpoint and tried to “storm” the court and “hit him in the face and chest with both fists.”
Check out the video above and behold the officer’s white lies.
Masai Ujiri’s counsel also takes an opportunity to demolish the sheriff’s deputy’s character by introducing his criminal record, which includes insurance fraud.
Note to lawyers: Conduct diligence on your own clients before filing suit against a public figure in federal court. pic.twitter.com/114c8zodfc
— Darren Heitner (@DarrenHeitner) August 19, 2020
The counterclaim calls out Strickland for falsifying the encounter, describing it “a complete fabrication” and an attempt to portray Ujiri as “the initial aggressor and an inherently violent individual.”
The counterclaim also contains statements from three witnesses who back up Ujiri’s account of events.
“We are mindful this remains before the courts, but we have always maintained that the claims made against Masai are baseless and entirely without merit,” the Raptors said in a statement to the San Francisco Chronicle. “We believe this video evidence shows exactly that — Masai was not an aggressor, but instead was the recipient of two very violent, unwarranted actions. The events of that evening cast a pall over what should have been a night of celebration, and the year since.
“While Masai has the full backing of Raptors and MLSE as he fights this injustice, we are aware that not all people have similar support and resources. This is a spurious legal action that MLSE, the NBA, and especially Masai should not be facing.”