As we reported before, Masai Ujiri countersued the officer who claimed Ujiri assaulted him and added a video recording proving the Raptors President wasn’t the aggressor in the incident. The officer in question, Deputy Strickland, has responded to Ujiri’s countersuit in which he compared Ujiri with a terrorist, and that may not be the most absurd part of the story. Here’s a reminder of how it went down.
I’m not a legal expert, but I’d say the officer overstepped his authority and standard procedure. His lawyers think otherwise. According to them, Ujiri failed to present identification at which point Mr. Strickland “tried to redirect Mr. Ujiri, by gently grabbing his right elbow with his left fingertips.” It actually says that I swear. It gets better.
“But just as Mr. Ujiri had completely ignored the private security official, he completely ignored Deputy Strickland’s words, gesture, and attempt at gentle physical guidance.”via Daniel Wallach
I promise I’m not making this up. The court filing goes on to explain Mr. Strickland had to respond with physical force to prevent Mr. Ujiri from going on to the court because he presented a risk. What kind of risk you wonder? The filing has an answer for that as well. They proceed to name a fan stabbing Monika Seles in the 1993 US Open, the Malice in the Palace, and I sh** you not, the 1986 mass murder of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics. The filing finishes with mentioning that Mr. Ujiri attempted “to barge past the second time, still without showing his (invalid) credential.”
If you go back and look at the bodycam video again, it is obvious Mr. Strickland escalated the situation really quickly, and after the first shove Mr. Ujiri is telling him he is the Raptors President and trying to show him his credentials, which was ignored and he was shoved again. Not sure at which point in the process did the Deputy have time to ascertain Ujiri’s credentials were invalid.
I want to take a moment to look at this from Mr. Strickland’s point of view. OK, I can agree that Ujiri didn’t make a full stop, take out his credentials, and let the security officer and the deputy thoroughly inspect it before going on the court. So the deputy reflectively puts his hand on Ujiri to stop him, and get the chance to check out his credentials. At that point, Ujiri does push his hand off the deputy, which is a mistake. How Deputy Strickland behaved after that seems completely unprofessional.
First of all, Ujiri’s team just won the frikin’ NBA Finals, and I’m sure in most arenas people know who he is. Not making a full stop while walking to the court is perfectly understandable. He was obviously pulling out credentials, so the probability of him being someone who gets to go on the court is higher than, let’s say, being a fan with a knife or a mass murderer. Not to mention that after the first shove, Ujiri said he was the Raptors President, so give the guy a break, de-escalate the situation, check his credentials out and everything gets sorted out in 10 seconds.
If you look at the cover photo at the top of the article or any other photo from the celebration, you can see Ujiri was robbed from a magical night. Everyone else were celebrating the pinnacle of their professional career, and he was thinking about the incindent.
I almost forgot. Deputy Strickland sued Ujiri for suffering a “permanent disability.” Ujiri’s countersuit contains video evidence of Deputy Strickland carrying boxes and using a power saw outside his home. You might think it’s a wrap, but Deputy Strickland mentioned another form of damage the Stricklands suffered. The suit claimed his wife “will be deprived of her love, companionship, comfort, care, services, assistance, protection, affection, society, and moral support.”
So if you see Ms. Strickland out and about, tell her a kind word, or sing her a song. She needs it.