Images reveal Raptors president altercation 1:45
(CNN) – Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri said the reason he was pushed around by a law enforcement officer last year when trying to join his NBA champions in celebrating is because he is black.
“There are some people, including those who are supposed to protect us, who will always and only see me as unworthy of a respectful commitment. And, there is only one indisputable reason why that is the case: because I am black. “
In body camera footage obtained this week by CNN, Ujiri is seen attempting to gain access to the court to celebrate with his team following the Raptors’ decisive Game 6 victory in the NBA Finals against the Golden Warriors. State in 2019.
As Ujiri reaches into his jacket to show all his access credentials, Deputy Sheriff Alan Strickland pushes him twice, grabs him by the suit and tells him to “back off.” Ujiri then pushes the agent back.
Another video shows the two men being separated, before Ujiri was allowed onto the court.
“The video sadly demonstrates how horribly I was treated by a law enforcement officer last year in the midst of my team, the Toronto Raptors, winning their first title,” Ujiri said in a statement issued Thursday.
He added, “It was an exciting moment of achievement for our organization, for our players, for our city, for our country and for me personally, given my long career in the NBA.”
The law firm representing Officer Strickland did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment.
Strickland had filed a lawsuit in February against Ujiri, alleging that he had “suffered and will continue to suffer physical, mental, emotional and financial harm” as a result of the incident.
The lawsuit alleges that the officer suffered head, jaw, chin and tooth injuries from the altercation. He alleges that Ujiri hit him in the face and chest with both fists.
However, the body camera footage also raises questions about Strickland’s claim that Ujiri was the assailant in the exchange.
The images are included as part of a counterclaim filed Tuesday by Ujiri in United States District Court in Oakland, California.
Ujiri alleges in the lawsuit that Strickland is perpetrating fraud, alleging that newly released body camera images show Strickland used excessive force.
In his statement, Ujiri says the only reason he is now receiving justice for the incident is because of his status as president of an NBA team.
“What saddens me most about this ordeal is that the only reason I am receiving the justice I deserve at this time is because of my success. As I am the president of an NBA team, I had access to resources that assured me that I could demand and fight for my justice.
Many of my brothers and sisters have not had, do not have and will not have the same access to the resources that ensured my justice. And that’s the reason for ‘Black Lives Matter’.
And that is why it is important that we all continue to demand justice. Justice for George. Justice for Breonna. Justice for Elijah. Justice for too many black lives that mattered. And justice for blacks around the world, who need our voice and our compassion to save their lives.
The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment on what Ujiri said Thursday.
“We support 100% the original statement that was released that Mr. Ujiri is the aggressor in this incident … do not rush to judge based on what the attorneys say,” the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office told CP24 following the release of the body camera images earlier this week.
Earlier this week, the sheriff’s office told CNN that the matter was a civil case and that any questions should be referred to Strickland’s legal team.
Last year, the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office said Ujiri would not face criminal charges.
Jonathan Hawkins contributed to this report.