Officer alleging Masai Ujiri assaulted him could press charges: report

Jun 18 2019, 7:28 pm

Masai Ujiri, President of Basketball Operations of the Toronto Raptors, could face possible charges after an officer questioned his credentials following the Game Six of the NBA Finals, leading to an altercation between the two men.

The incident, which some are calling out as an example of police racism and carding, took place at Oracle Arena just moments after Toronto defeated the Golden State Warriors to win the NBA Championship.


NBC Bay Area reports that a witness said Ujiri was attempting to make his way onto the court when he was stopped by a sheriff’s deputy, who claimed he didn’t have the proper credentials displayed.

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It’s also said that Ujiri allegedly struck and shoved the deputy during the altercation.

A video posted by Kristofer Noceda of NBC Bay Area shows a police officer being held back from an individual who is believed to be Ujiri. In the video, it appears Ujiri is holding his credentials in his hand.

According to Katie Nielson, a reporter for KPIX 5 in the Bay Area, the deputy has hired a high profile civil rights attorney David Mastagni to possibly file a lawsuit against Ujiri, the Toronto Raptors organization, and the NBA.

The deputy has been a member of Alameda County Sheriff’s Office for 20 years and hasn’t returned to work since the night of the incident after reportedly suffering a concussion and serious jaw injury during the attack, which the deputy claims was “unprovoked.”

Nielson also reports that the deputy informed investigators that he was trying to stop Ujiri from going on the court for post-game celebrations because “he did not know who Ujiri was” and “he was not wearing proper credentials.”

Following the incident, many took to social media to speak out against the deputy, noting that Ujiri being stopped by a white officer is a prime example of carding and discrimination.

Mastagni says the deputy was focused on credentials and not Ujiri’s race and said that “the deputy has African American family members.”

“This is a case about a credential or no credential not a case about race,” said Mastagni.

Nielson says the Alameda County Sheriff Greg Ahern watched a body camera video of the incident between the deputy and Ujiri and “fully supports the deputy” and is recommending the case move to the District Attorney for “criminal charges of misdemeanour battery of a police officer against Ujiri.”

Nielson said the body camera and the security footage is part of the investigation and is not being released.

In a statement, the Raptors said they are “fully cooperating with authorities” and “look forward to resolving the situation.”