The officer involved in an alleged physical altercation with Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri last Thursday at the NBA Finals is reportedly considering filing a lawsuit against Ujiri, the Raptors and the NBA.
According to Bay Area reporter Katie Nielsen of KPIX 5, the officer involved — a veteran deputy of 20 years with the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office — sustained a concussion and a “serious jaw injury” and has not been able to return to work since the incident, which took place at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif., following the Raptors’ Game 6 victory to capture their first-ever NBA championship.
The deputy has hired civil rights attorney David Mastagni, who told Nielsen that “no options are being ruled out as to how to rectify the situation.”
“It’s an unprovoked, significant hit to the jaw of the law enforcement officer,” he said.
Earlier reports described a scene in which Ujiri was trying to get onto the court to join the Raptors’ championship celebration but was stopped by the officer and asked for his credentials. The officer alleges that Ujiri then pushed him in an attempt to get on the court.
“This is a case about a credential or no credential, not a case about race,” said Mastagni.
Sgt. Ray Kelly, an Alameda County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson, said in a phone interview Friday that the deputy “had no idea who (Ujiri) was.”
“Our deputy pushed the man back and told him he couldn’t go onto the court,” Kelly alleged, via the Canadian Press. “At that point, the gentleman pushed our deputy again, and during that push his arm struck our deputy in the jaw.”
A Raptors spokesperson has said the team is cooperating with U.S. authorities and look forward to resolving the situation.
– With files from Canadian Press/Associated Press