The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office has confirmed they will be pursuing a misdemeanor complaint against Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri for battery of a police officer after an altercation following Game 6 of the NBA Finals.
According to USA Today, Ujiri is accused of pushing an officer twice and hitting him in the face after he was stopped from coming onto the court to join the Raptors’ postgame celebration at the Golden State Warriors’ Oracle Arena because he did not display a proper credential. In the video,
Ujiri appears to be holding a credential in his right hand and also appears to be holding a credential in the same hand in a video that shows him watching the end of the game from the tunnel, before the incident.
Sgt. Ray Kelly, a spokesman for the sheriff’s office, said, “We were told to strictly enforce the credentialing policy and not allow anyone onto the court without a credential, so our deputies were doing that. Our deputy contacted Mr. Masai Ujiri as he attempted to walk onto the court. He had no credential displayed, and our deputy asked for his credential.”
Kelly continued, “Mr. Ujiri didn’t produce them and pushed our deputy out of the way to gain access to the court. At that point our deputy tried to stop him and pushed him backward and then Mr. Ujiri came back with a second shove, a more significant push that, with his forward momentum, his arm struck our deputy in the face. At that point, our deputy pushed Mr. Ujiri away again and some NBA security people and others intervened, and he ended up walking onto the court.”
Greg Wiener, a witness who said he was about “three inches away” from the officer during the incident, told USA TODAY Sports that the police’s account of the altercation is “not entirely true.” Wiener said, “(Ujiri) had (his credential) in his hand and his hand was down by his side. It looked like he was trying to get it up. As Ujiri came forward, the cop stepped forward and put his hand on his chest and basically said, ‘Nobody can go past this point.’ He just stopped him. Ujiri didn’t say anything, he didn’t get his badge up, then the cop kind of pushed him back, then Ujiri shoved him. I mean, hard.
Wiener continued, “The thing that I’m pushing back on is where they’re saying that the cop asked for his credentials. Yeah, he didn’t ask. There was no conversation at all.” Wiener added that he “didn’t see” Ujiri strike the officer in the face and said, “the cop initiated the contact, no doubt about it.”
Sgt. Kelly said police chose not to detain Ujiri on the court because it wouldn’t have been in “anyone’s best interests” to do that on national television, as the Raptors were preparing for the postgame trophy ceremony.
“We decided to take the high road in light of their victory but will submit a report for complaint,” he said.
It is now up to the district attorney whether charges will be brought against Ujiri.