Toronto Raptors president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri released a statement regarding a newly released video of an altercation between himself and Alameda County sheriff’s deputy Alan Strickland that occurred directly after Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals.
A statement from our president Masai Ujiri. pic.twitter.com/ykekTq53XM— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) August 20, 2020
Two videos were released on Tuesday evening after Ujiri filed a countersuit against Strickland in U.S. District Court in Oakland, Calif. The first video showed Strickland acting as the initial aggressor, as he shoved the Raptors president twice as he approached the court before Ujiri pushed him back.
The second video was body camera footage, released by Ujiri’s legal team and obtained by Diamond Leung of The Athletic, which shows Ujiri pulling out his credentials and saying “I’m the president of the Raptors” while being shoved by Strickland.
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. pic.twitter.com/56XWMpZy0P— Diamond Leung (@diamond83) August 19, 2020
“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 see me as something unworthy of respectful engagement. There’s only 1 indisputable reason why that is the case—because I am Black,” Ujiri stated.
Strickland filed a lawsuit in February against the Raptors president in a Northern California district court, claiming that he incurred injuries that “caused and continue to cause great mental, physical, emotional and psychological pain and suffering” as a result of their altercation. Strickland, who earned US$224,000 a year according to Transparent California, has not returned to work since the incident occurred.
Ujiri filed a countersuit Tuesday in a U.S. District Court in Oakland while numerous Raptors players and coaches voiced their unwavering support of him broadly, and in his countersuit against Strickland.
“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,” Ujiri’s countersuit states. “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.”
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