Raptors president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri is being sued for damages by the police officer who alleged that Ujiri assaulted him in the moments after Toronto's victory over the Golden State Warriors in Game 6 of last year's NBA Finals, according to a suit filed in California last week.
The suit alleges that Ujiri struck the officer -- Alan Strickland, who was identified in the lawsuit for the first time since the incident took place -- in the face and chest with both fists as he attempted to reach the court in the wake of Toronto winning the first NBA championship in franchise history.
After the two men were separated, Ujiri eventually was able to make it onto the court to celebrate with the rest of the Raptors.
Strickland, along with his wife, Kelly, who is named as a co-plaintiff in the suit, allege that Strickland, as a result of the incident, "suffered injury to his body, health, strength, activity and person, all of which have caused and continue to cause Plaintiff great mental, emotional, psychological, physical, and nervous pain and suffering." It goes on to state Strickland has "suffered great anxiety, embarrassment, anger, loss of enjoyment of life, injury to reputation and severe emotional and physical distress in an amount to be determined at trial."
The suit claims the sum total of these issues have caused Strickland permanent disability. The suit asks for the couple to be rewarded: general damages exceeding the minimum amount of $75,000, as well as, among other things: punitive damages, payment of all medical and incidental expenses, to date and in the future; all proven loss of earnings; and all legal costs of filing the suit. The couple has asked for a jury trial.
Alameda County Sheriff Greg Ahern initially requested Ujiri be charged with battery of a peace officer after the incident took place, claiming Ujiri struck Strickland's jaw and shoulder. Eventually, however, the Alameda County District Attorney's Office declined to press any charges after a monthslong investigation ended with a meeting between the office, Ujiri and his lawyers in October.
ESPN confirmed with an Alameda County Sheriff's Office spokesperson that the officer is currently on leave, although the representative declined to say anything further for privacy reasons.
"We have just been made aware a claim has been filed," said a spokesperson for Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, the Raptors' ownership group. "We have no comment at this time."
The couple are suing not only Ujiri but also the Raptors, MLSE and the NBA itself on six separate counts: assault, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence (twice) and loss of consortium. The suit alleges that the Raptors, MLSE and the NBA, among other things "failed to provide adequate safety and security measures to protect members of the public."
The suit went on to list several things that could have been done, including, "post signs warning of danger, including the danger of Masai Ujiri."