Toronto Raptors president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri has been accused of striking a law enforcement officer who was working security at Thursday night’s NBA Finals game in Oakland, according to Sports Illustrated.
The alleged incident occurred after the Raptors had secured the victory, and Ujiri was attempting to enter the court to celebrate with his team, which had just won the NBA championship. An Alameda County Sheriff’s Deputy who didn’t recognize Ujiri allegedly attempted to stop him and ask for a credential. That’s when things got physical, according to the sheriff’s office.
“Mr. Ujiri was unknown to the deputy at that time. He [the deputy] asked him for a credential,” said Sgt. Ray Kelly, a spokesman for the sheriff’s office, according to ESPN. “He shoved the deputy out of the way and walked toward the court. The deputy pushed back. The president came forward more with a more significant push and ended up striking the deputy in the face.”
A season ticket holder who was standing next to the deputy and witnessed the encounter accused police of lying to cover up the deputy’s misdeed, and said Ujiri did not strike the officer.
Additionally, video of the final seconds of the game—right before Ujiri headed toward the court, show Ujiri had his credentials in his hand, leading to questions about why he would have been stopped by the deputy.
Sgt. Kelly said they could have arrested Ujiri, but opted not to, instead choosing to take more time to investigate the situation, according to ESPN. SI reported that the sheriff’s office is actively pursuing a charge, which would likely be the misdemeanor charge of simple battery against a peace officer.
Kelly said he anticipates the investigation concluding next week, at which point the determination will be made whether to charge Ujiri or not.