An Oakland sheriff’s deputy is suing Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri, the team, its parent company MLSE, and the NBA on allegations that Ujiri assaulted him after winning the league championship last summer.
A lawyer for plaintiff Alan Strickland filed the lawsuit in a California court on Friday. The suit claims that Strickland suffered “severe emotional and physical distress” as a result of a post-game altercation with Ujiri, including a concussion and a jaw injury that forced him to take medical leave.
The altercation occurred after Ujiri’s team won its first-ever title by defeating the Golden State Warriors in Game 6 of the NBA Finals at Oracle Arena. Ujiri tried to go out onto the court to celebrate with his team, but the sheriff’s deputy stopped him because he didn’t provide the proper on-court credentials. A shoving match ensued, and bystanders captured part of it on video.
Several witnesses ultimately separated the two men and Ujiri managed to get on the court without showing his credentials.
The deputy claimed at the time that Ujiri pushed and punched him, leaving him with a concussion and a jaw injury. The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office placed him on medical leave after the incident, a spokesperson for the sheriff’s office said at the time.
The new suit alleges that the NBA and MLSE should have known about Ujiri’s “violent predisposition and propensity for physical violence.”
The suit seeks an unspecified amount “in excess” of $75,000 on allegations of assault, battery and intent. It also claims that Strickland’s injuries “will result in some permanent disability.”
Ujiri is currently accompanying Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on a trip to Africa. He has not yet commented on the suit.
The Alameda County district attorney’s office announced last October that it would not pursue criminal charges against Ujiri. The DA’s office said the matter was better handled “outside the courtroom.”
Ujiri’s attorney, Robert Beles, hailed the decision at the time.
“It was definitely the right conclusion,” Beles said in a statement to the Associated Press.
—With files from The Associated Press