But they refused to show the full video of the incident, nor would they allow the photos to be published. The releasing of the stills were to dispute witnesses who said Ujiri didn’t strike the deputy at all.
As reported, Ujiri and the deputy got into a physical altercation on June 13, after the Raptors secured their first NBA title in Oakland, California’s Oracle Arena. The team defeated the Golden State Warriors in six games.
After the final seconds ticked away, Ujiri tried to walk on the court to celebrate with his team but was stopped by the deputy, who accused him of not having the proper credentials.
Later, the sheriff’s office admitted that Ujiri showed his ID but it was backwards, so he was stopped. Police also said he didn’t have the yellow armband and purple badge required to get on the floor, which sparked the physical altercation.
Police wouldn’t allow the Canadian newspaper to see the full video, and they only showed certain photos, not everything that could’ve been pulled from the footage. The sheriff’s office didn’t want the stills to be published because they said that would interfere with their investigation.
“[We wanted] to show that a crime did occur, when people are saying that … there was no strike to the face, when in fact there was,” said the spokesperson, Sergeant Ray Kelly. “We’ve done it in a way that can still let the investigation take place without contaminating the witness pool.”
One photo reportedly shows Ujiri’s hands “raised,” “outstretched” and “clenched into fists,” and Kelly said the deputy was struck in his jaw, as well as his shoulder.
But in a previous interview, he said Ujiri “Pushed the deputy and with his forward momentum struck him in the face.” He didn’t mention anything about the officer being punched twice.
The deputy also claims to have a concussion from the incident, and it’s possible he’ll file a civil suit against Ujiri or the Raptors. Meanwhile, Alameda County Sheriff Greg Ahern suggested that Ujiri be charged with misdemeanor battery.
The officer has yet to be identified at this time, because Kelly said he’s been receiving threats from fans. Plus, his body camera turned off after the incident and some accused him of shutting it down on purpose. Kelly, however, said it was accidentally turned off during the scuffle.
After the incident, at least two witnesses claimed they saw the deputy act aggressively towards Ujiri and push him first. A third witness said the Raptors president didn’t strike anyone, and the deputy didn’t look injured at all, just upset.
“There were no punches thrown or anything like that,” stated the witness.