SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A law enforcement officer in California is suing the president of the Toronto Raptors over a scuffle following the team's NBA Finals victory over the Golden State Warriors last June.
The Raptors had just won their first title at Oracle Arena in Oakland on June 13 when Raptors President Masai Ujiri went onto the court to join his celebrating team.
Alameda County sheriff's deputy Alan Strickland claims in a federal lawsuit filed Friday that he stopped Ujiri because he didn't provide the proper credential, leading to a shoving match that was partially captured on video. Strickland alleged Ujiri hit him “in the face and chest with both fists,” tried to go around the deputy and repeatedly ignored orders to stop.
His lawsuit alleged that NBA officials had told security personnel someone had recently gained access to the basketball court with fake credentials and that they “did not want this security breach to occur again."
The lawsuit claims Strickland suffered “physical, mental, emotional, and economic injuries,” including lost wages, lost opportunity for financial gain and future earning capacity. It also cited past and future medical care and expenses and names his wife as a plaintiff. The suit seeks $75,000 in damages.
Strickland reported suffering a concussion and an injury to his jaw that forced him to miss work, his attorney said at the time. He has been out on medical leave since the scuffle.
In October, prosecutors decided not to file charges against Ujiri after he attended a meeting with sheriff's and district attorney officials. At the time, a spokeswoman for District Attorney Nancy O’Malley said the parties “focused on matters that we believe merited constructive, structured mediation and conflict resolution and were better handled in a setting outside of the courtroom.”
A statement from the Raptors said Strickland's claims are baseless and without merit.
"The Toronto Raptors and Masai have jointly retained very able counsel who will be handling this matter on our behalf and consequently, we do not intend to make any further statement about it,” the team statement said.