Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri is filing a counter suit in California against the Alamenda County sheriffs deputy who claimed he was assaulted by Ujiri following the NBA Finals. On Tuesday Ujiri’s legal team produced the body cam footage of a courtside incident with deputy Alan Strickland during the 2019 NBA Finals where Ujiri was pushed twice and sworn at while trying to show his credentials to the officer.
Strickland is attempting to sue Ujiri, saying the Raptors’ president assaulted him — and the fallout from the incident meant he “suffered injury to his body, health, strength, activity and person, all of which have caused and continue to cause Plaintiff great mental, emotional, psychological, physical, and nervous pain and suffering.”
After seeing the video it’s clear this claim is complete and utter bullshit.
Body cam footage plainly shows Ujiri approaching the deputy on his way to the court to celebrate with the Raptors. He attempts to pull out his credentials before being shoved back with Strickland saying “back the fuck up.” At this point a confused Ujiri pulls his credentials out of his pocket entirely, before being shoved again — to which Ujiri responds by asking Strickland “Why did you push me? I’m the president of the Raptors.” Ujiri does indeed shove back during the altercation, but only after being pushed twice by the deputy, who instigated the incident, and offered no clear explanation why he wasn’t letting Ujiri past.
The incident was the source of immediate scrutiny when law enforcement tried to place the Raptors’ president as aggressor. Alameda County sheriff Greg Ahern pushed for assault charges to be filed against Ujiri, which were subsequently dropped by the district attorney’s office. At this point Strickland, and his wife (named as a co-plaintiff) filed a civil suit against Ujiri seeking a minimum of $75,000 in damages, ludicrously claiming the deputy has suffered “permanent disability” from being pushed once, after violently shoving a man twice.
The counter-suit, filed by Ujiri’s lawyers on Tuesday, says that deputy Alan Strickland is “perpetrating a fraud” against Ujiri, the Raptors, and the NBA. Adding that the deputy’s version of events is a “complete fabrication.” In addition to the body cam footage, the suit alleges there are three eyewitnesses, all of whom have declared under penalty of perjury, that Ujiri did not punch the deputy. The suit also takes aim at Strickland’s key witness, LAPD Officer Sucha Singh, who claims he witnessed what happened and is backing up the sheriff's assault claim. The suit states that Singh was located at a tunnel completely opposite where the incident took place, while stating that Singh “has a history of engaging in excessive force.”
Ujiri’s lawyers are also noting that Strickland has a history of committing fraud, evidenced by a 2005 incident in which the sheriff damaged his own car, filed an insurance claim, and ultimately pled guilty to misdemeanor insurance fraud as a result. It also notes that despite Stickland claiming he was suffering from permanent, debilitating injuries, there is evidence of him working in his garage with power tools, and carrying boxes just days after the incident with Ujiri.
Stickland’s legal team has not issued a public response to the suit at this time.