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New Video Footage Shows Toronto Raptors President Masai Ujiri Wasn’t the Aggressor In Incident with California Deputy

The word “vindication” applies to Masai Ujiri, president of the Toronto Raptors, according to his attorneys. That’s because new bodycam footage contradicts claims that were made by Alameda County Sheriff’s Deputy Alan Strickland about Ujiri assaulting him.

The new video was released on Tuesday, Aug. 18, as part of a federal lawsuit, and it came from the deputy’s bodycam, as well as security footage from Oakland’s Oracle Arena. The footage shows an incident that occurred in June 2019 when the Raptors defeated the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals to secure their first championship.

New bodycam footage shows a California deputy being the aggressor in a 2019 exchange with Toronto Raptors President Masai Ujiri (above). (Photo: Bernard Weil / Toronto Star via Getty Images)

When Ujiri began to walk onto the court at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California, on June 13, 2019, to celebrate with Raptors members after his team beat the Warriors 114-110 in Game 6 to clinch the championship, he was stopped by Strickland, who pushed him, with the Raptors president eventually pushing him back.

Strickland said afterward that Ujiri didn’t show his security credentials when trying to walk onto the court, which couldn’t be fully proved at the time because the only thing released was grainy video footage of the incident.

But the new videos show that Strickland was the true aggressor and Ujiri didn’t “storm” the court with a “violent predisposition” like he claimed.

In February, Strickland filed a federal lawsuit against Ujiri, the Raptors, Maple Leaf Entertainment, and the NBA, saying that Ujiri shoved him, then punched him twice in the jaw with both fists. Strickland said the blows gave him a concussion, an injured jaw and a swollen face. He also went on medical leave after the incident.

But the video clearly shows that Ujiri showed his credentials but Strickland stopped him anyway.

“Back the f— up,” the officer told him.

“Why did you push me?” Ujiri asked. “I’m the president of the Raptors.”

Although footage shows Ujiri shoving Strickland back after being pushed twice, there’s nothing that shows him throwing any punches or doing any of the other things that Strickland claimed.

“Mr. Strickland used unnecessary and excessive force,” wrote Ujiri’s lawyers in court documents. “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.”

The attorneys also provided a photo of Strickland that was taken on the night he went to the hospital and claimed he had facial swelling. The photo shows there was no swelling at all.

“[This] narrative that has become somewhat familiar: a law enforcement officer using their position, engages in unjustified violence against a peaceful individual, then lies about the encounter by characterizing the victim as the aggressor,” wrote Ujiri’s lawyers.

In 1994 Strickland was arrested and convicted of insurance fraud, according to Fox 2 KTVU. He was also seen earlier this year using a power tool and doing other things that apparently contradict his claims that Ujiri left him disabled.

Neither Strickland nor the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office has responded to the videos yet.

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