Alameda Sheriff's Dept. Backs Deputy After Masai Ujiri Body Cam Video Released

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistAugust 19, 2020

Toronto Raptors President Masai Ujiri attends a premiere for
Arthur Mola/Associated Press

Despite what newly released video evidence suggests, the Alameda County Sheriff's Office is reportedly sticking its story that Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri was the aggressor during a 2019 altercation with deputy Alan Strickland. 

"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, per Stephanie Smyth of CP 24. "Don't be quick to judge based off of what lawyers are saying."

The statement comes after video was released from Strickland's body camera that shows the deputy stopping Ujiri after the Raptors defeated the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals and then pushing the team president as he is showing his credentials.

Diamond Leung @diamond83

Masai Ujiri's legal team has released body camera footage of his encounter with a security worker at Oracle Arena after the Raptors won the NBA championship. https://t.co/56XWMpZy0P

The Raptors issued a statement after the video released and stood by Ujiri:

Marc J. Spears @MarcJSpears

Statement from Raptors on Masai Ujiri incident with police video. https://t.co/OnmLsKLfjF

Lisa Fernandez of Fox 2 reported Strickland filed a federal lawsuit in February against Ujiri, the Raptors, Maple Leaf Entertainment and the NBA and alleged he suffered injuries to his head, jaw, chin and teeth.

What's more, he filed a workers' compensation claim, said Ujiri has a "violent predisposition" and acted with "evil motive amounting to malice," and has not been to work in more than a year as a result. Strickland's workers' compensation claim alleged Ujiri tried to "storm" the court and "hit him in the face and chest with both fists."

Fernandez also noted Ujiri's lawyers questioned Strickland's apparent injuries, pointing to no visible facial swelling and no bruises, as well as video that shows him out for lunch and using a power saw.

Strickland was also arrested and convicted of insurance fraud in the past, which Fernandez wrote raised "questions about his integrity."

The Canadian Press reported Ujiri filed a countersuit on Tuesday in a U.S. District Court in Oakland, Calif., that describes Strickland as the aggressor and points to a pattern people have seen in similar circumstances:

"Sadly, Mr. Strickland's dishonest account of the encounter is a 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. To be sure the great majority of law enforcement officers do not conduct themselves in this way. Mr. Strickland, however, has chosen dishonesty over integrity."

The altercation came on the floor at Oracle Arena after the Raptors clinched their NBA Finals victory over the Warriors in Game 6.