Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri may be facing a misdemeanor battery charge for allegedly assaulting a police officer.
On Thursday, the Raptors beat the Golden State Warriors in Game 6 of the NBA Finals in Oakland, California, to secure the championship. But when Ujiri tried to celebrate on the court he was stopped by a local police officer.
According to CBS News, the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office are the ones pursuing the battery charge, and they’ve accused Ujiri of shoving the officer twice, as well as hitting him in the face.
The officer — whose name has yet to be revealed — also said Ujiri didn’t have the proper credentials to access the floor. But in two separate videos he’s seen holding what looks to be an I.D. badge in his hand.
In one clip, you can see the Raptors’ president and the officer tussling. The cop is then restrained by another man, and Ujiri walks on the court, where he’s greeted by Raptors guard Kyle Lowry.
Ujiri is also seen in a second video watching the game from the tunnel and appears to be holding that same badge. But the officer said he refused to show his credentials when asked and that’s when the alleged shoving began.
“We were told to strictly enforce the credentialing policy and not allow anyone onto the court without a credential, so our deputies were doing that,” said Sgt. Ray Kelly of the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office. “Our deputy contacted Mr. Masai Ujiri as he attempted to walk onto the court. He had no credential displayed, and our deputy asked for his credential.”
“Mr. Ujiri didn’t produce them and pushed our deputy out of the way to gain access to the court,” he added. “At that point, our deputy tried to stop him and pushed him backward and then Mr. Ujiri came back with a second shove, a more significant push, that with his forward momentum, his arm struck our deputy in the face.”
But according to Greg Wiener, a season ticket holder who was at the game and claimed to witness the incident, the cop is the one who initiated the shoving and he never asked for Ujiri’s credentials.
“[Ujiri] had [his credential] in his hand and his hand was down by his side,” he told USA Today. “It looked like he was trying to get it up. As Ujiri came forward, the cop stepped forward and put his hand on his chest and basically said, ‘Nobody can go past this point.’ He just stopped him. Ujiri didn’t say anything, he didn’t get his badge up, then the cop kind of pushed him back, then Ujiri shoved him. I mean, hard.”
“The thing that I’m pushing back on, is where they’re saying that the cop asked for his credentials,” added the witness. “Yeah, he didn’t ask. There was no conversation at all. [I] didn’t see Ujiri strike the officer in the face. The cop initiated the contact, no doubt about it.”
Elsewhere in his statement, Kelly said that he decided to “take the high road” and not arrest Ujiri because doing so on national television wouldn’t have been in “anyone’s best interest.”
Of course, whether the district attorney will bring charges against the Raptors’ president remains to be determined. So far the Raptors have yet to release a statement about the incident but said they were fully aware of it.