Raptors president Masai Ujiri files countersuit following NBA Finals scuffle - InfoNews

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Raptors president Masai Ujiri files countersuit following NBA Finals scuffle

Toronto Raptors President Masai Ujiri is seen in Toronto on Tuesday October 22, 2019. The Toronto Raptors issued a statement on Tuesday saying a recently released video proves team president Masai Ujiri wasn't the "aggressor" in an encounter with a law enforcement officer at Oracle Arena last June. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
August 19, 2020 - 1:45 PM

Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse says a video showing an altercation between team president Masai Ujiri and a law enforcement officer at last year's NBA Finals shows the executive received poor treatment.

The video was released with a countersuit Ujiri filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Oakland, Calif. It comes in the aftermath of a lawsuit filed by Alameda County sheriff's deputy Alan Strickland following the altercation after the Raptors won the NBA title last June.

"I mean, listen, to me it's pretty self-explanatory. And disappointing," Nurse said before the Raptors faced the Brooklyn Nets in Game 2 of their NBA first-round playoff series on Wednesday in Florida.

"I think it probably ruins a night of tremendous celebration for Masai with the actions of the officer. I'm sure he still felt pretty good about the win and all that stuff, but it had to dampen that. I guess it's been a long time. It's been over a year. So, it's good to kind of get maybe close to some closure on that."

The Raptors said in a statement on Tuesday that a video released with the countersuit proves Ujiri wasn't the aggressor in the dispute.

Strickland is suing over the scuffle. Ujiri, the Raptors, Raptors owner Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment and the NBA are listed as defendants in Strickland's lawsuit.

The countersuit gives its own description of what Ujiri's legal team calls an 11-second encounter.

"As Mr. Ujiri attempted to enter the court, Mr. Strickland assaulted him, forcefully shoving him back once and then twice. Mr. Ujiri then shoved Mr. Strickland in the chest," the document says.

The document adds Strickland is "perpetuating a fraud by falsely claiming he was injured," and that Ujiri was "subjected to unprovoked and unnecessary use of force."

"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," the document says. "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."

Nurse said it's an unfortunate situation.

"I think that in this particular case, not just this particular case, in many instances people make accusations, assumptions, throw the guilty thing at lots of people, and I think in the world, especially of social media and all this kind of stuff, there's a lot of just flat-out unkind behaviour towards people when they don't really know the truth," he said. "I find it all very disheartening and disappointing, to be honest."

Sgt. Ray Kelly, a spokesperson for the Alameda County Sheriff's Office, said the office stands by everything it has said in regards to the investigation.

He added that the video released is "a snippet of all the video that is out there."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on August 19, 2020.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2020
The Canadian Press

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