Deputy accuses Raptors’ Masai Ujiri of falsely claiming ‘racial animus’


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The district attorney decided not to pursue criminal charges against Ujiri last October, but in February, Strickland filed a federal lawsuit against Ujiri and Raptors owners Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment and the NBA, claiming he suffered “permanent disability,” as well as “great mental, physical, emotional and psychological pain and suffering.”

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Strickland was later photographed operating power tools and lifting boxes while on leave shortly after the incident.

Ujiri filed a response to Strickland’s claims in April and a counterclaim last month to the U.S. District Court in Oakland that included body camera footage that showed Strickland aggressively pushed him twice when he didn’t appear to flash his credentials, which were in his hand, quickly enough. Ujiri then is shown responding with a push of his own as he tells Strickland he is the president of the Raptors.

Ujiri also included testimony from three witnesses that countered Strickland’s claims that Ujiri hit him with a closed fist and showed proof that Strickland had committed fraud in the past, something courts show he pleaded guilty to.

An altercation between a sheriff’s deputy and Raptors president Masai Ujiri is shown in this screengrab. Photo by KTVU FOX 2 /SCREEN GRAB

Ujiri released a statement last month saying in part that the video footage proved he was wronged and that: “Unfortunately, I was reminded in that moment that despite all of my hard work and success, there are some people, including those who are supposed to protect us, who will always and only see me as something that is unworthy of respectful engagement. And, there’s only one indisputable reason why that is the case — because I am Black.”

The Alameda County Sheriff’s Department responded to the footage and the countersuit by alleging the video didn’t tell the whole story and that they were still supporting Strickland’s version of events.

Last June, the same department told the Globe and Mail that while Ujiri had shown his credentials, they were not the ones required to enter the court.