New video of Masai Ujiri altercation shows white Oakland cop was on a power trip
Remember last June when, just one day after Canada's only basketball team won its first-ever NBA championship, an Oakland cop accused Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri of assaulting him on the court?
Upon reviewing all evidence available at the time, pretty much everyone concluded that the allegations were bunk — to the point where the Alameda County (California) Sheriff's Office decided not to pursue charges against Ujiri after all.
Smart, considering Ujiri did not, in fact, "attack" or hit sheriff's deputy Alan Strickland "in the face and chest with both fists" as claimed.
New video footage released on Tuesday shows quite clearly, in fact, that Strickland was the initial aggressor in the June 13, 2019 incident.
In other words, the police officer started the fight, pinned the blame on someone who didn't deserve it, and then lied repeatedly about what had happened — just like so many other cops, bouncers and security guards before him.
The amazing detail in here is that the cop who did this, and then lied about it repeatedly, saying he was attacked, "earned $224,000 a year, not including benefits, in 2018", and has been off on sick leave ever since https://t.co/mjpdqQ5t0c— Tom Gara (@tomgara) August 19, 2020
Two separate videos were publicized on Tuesday as part of a countersuit by Ujiri against Strickland, who himself filed a lawsuit against the Toronto Raptors President in February.
Strickland's suit alleged that Ujiri struck him with two fists before walking onto the court for a trophy presentation moments after the Raptors beat the Golden State Warriors to win the 2019 NBA Finals.
The police officer stated that Ujiri had failed to present his credentials, and that he pushed Strickland when asked for them, sending the cop "backwards several feet" and causing him to "suffer physical, mental, emotional, and economic injuries."
Strickland's suit asked for more than $75,000 in damages, blaming Ujiri as well as the Raptors, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment and the NBA for failing to warn him of the team president's "violent predisposition and propensity for physical violence."
This is why people hate police. They don't enforce the only, they feel they are above the law. They abuse all the power they have and punish innocent citizens. I hope Masai makes a case out of this clown and their department— Gary Sethi #neverforget1984 (@Gary_Sethi) August 19, 2020
Here's the thing: Ujiri didn't punch Strickland. People who witnessed the altercation confirmed as much at the time.
An Alameda Country Sheriff's Office spokesperson even admitted at one point that Strickland had pushed Ujiri first — but only, he said, because the Raptors executive had presented his credentials in a "very threatening way."
Ujiri's countersuit, filed Tuesday at U.S. District Court in Oakland, California, paints an entirely different story — one with moving images to back up any claims.
The suit, which includes the Raptors, the NBA and Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment as plaintiffs, states that Strickland's account of the altercation is "a complete fabrication."
While Strickland attempted to portray Ujiri as "the initial aggressor and an inherently violent individual," as the suit puts it, three videos provided by Ujiri's legal team as evidence show quite the opposite.
The security video from the end of Game 6 in Oakland has been released. It’s pretty clear Deputy Alan Strickland was the aggressor in this altercation with #Raptors President Masai Ujiri. This cop is a straight clown. pic.twitter.com/ANaOLWRmHh— Sheldon Alexander (@ShelAlexander) August 19, 2020
California news outlet FOX KTVU released two telling portions of the roughly six minutes and 20 seconds worth of video provided to the court: One of them containing body camera footage, the other a security tape from inside Oakland's Oracle Arena.
Both show Ujiri attempting to walk onto the court after the Raptors stomped the Golden State Warriors to win Game 6 of the NBA Finals last June.
Strickland can be seen stopping Ujiri with his arm to try and check his credentials. The man responsible for putting together Canada's first ever NBA championship-winning team pulls his badge out a little bit, but not fully, as he walks by, prompting Strickland to shove him.
"Back the f*ck up!" shouts the cop, who was serving as security for the event. Confused, Ujiri approaches and asks why he's being pushed, explaining that he is President of the Toronto Raptors.
Strickland pushes him again, triggering a shoving match between the two men (during which no fists are thrown.)
"After being shoved and cursed at, Mr. Ujiri did not respond aggressively towards Mr. Strickland," the countersuit states.
"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."
Raptors spokesperson on release of video footage involving team president Masai Ujiri and a Bay Area police officer in moments after end of 2019 NBA Finals: pic.twitter.com/sPq6y1tbw5— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) August 19, 2020
"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," continues the legal document.
"Mr. Ujiri's defensive response was a reasonable and justified reaction to Mr. Strickland's use of unnecessary and excessive force."
The Raptors once again defended Ujiri in a statement on Tuesday after the counterclaim was filed.
"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," it reads.
"We believe this video evidence shows exactly that — Masai was not an aggressor but instead was the recipient of two very violent, unwarranted actions."
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