Did Toronto Raptors President Masai Ujiri Assault Alameda Sheriff Deputy? Video Is Inconclusive. And we have an update below.
"Toronto Raptors President Ujiri Pushes Alameda County Sheriff's,"they say. "Raptors exec strikes deputy after Game 6 of NBA Finals at Oracle, police say," but what does Masai Ujiri say?
An Alameda County Sheriff's Deputy is claiming that Raptors President Masai Ujiri, the architect of the 2019 NBA Champion Toronto Raptors, pushed the officer and struck him in the face. NBC Bay Area claimed to have exclusive video, but it doesn't actually show the incident.
Moreover, I found another video of a different angle, but it also does not actually show the incident. The videos are inconclusive.
However, we can ask some questions based on what we see and what the Alameda Sheriff's Deputy claimed. First, why would the Raptors President just push and hit a police officer? The videos do indicate two facts: that some disagreement happened, and that Masai Ujiri was clearly puzzled.
Another video shows Raptors Star Kyle Lowry waving to and then pulling Masai Ujiri away from the confusion, and with a confused look on his face.
Second, what puzzles me is this: there are many, many people on the Oakland Coliseum's Oracle Arena Floor, and they don't have around-the-neck badges. Many men in suits also don't have these around-the-neck badges.
The only possible way Masai Ujiri may have acted inappropriately was if the Alameda Sheriff's Deputy did something in the way of trying to stop him from moving forward onto the court. It tests logic that The Raptors President, and now widely acknowledged builder of champion NBA teams, would risk a bright future featuring a $10 million-a-year deal with the Washington Wizards, just for the purpose of pushing and slapping a law enforcement official.
But look at the video and ask this question: why him? Of all of the freely roaming people, why would the Alameda Sheriff's Deputy pick out Masai Ujiri? Is it possible the Alameda Sheriff's Deputy believed that Masai Ujiri didn't belong on the court only because he was black, even though he was dressed in a business suit (which shouldn't matter)?
Masai Ujiri / Alameda Sheriff's Incident Clouded By Claims That Alameda Sheriff's Office Is White Supremacist
This has to be cleaned up because right now, the Alameda Sheriff's Deputy is in the middle of an international incident. Additionally, the Alameda Sheriff's Deputy is already under fire for racist incidents, like retweeting a retweeting a “#UniteTheRight” press conference given by high-profile white nationalist Richard Spencer, or treatment of Latino's in the matter of immigration law enforcement actions.
And while the person at fault in that white nationalist incident, Public Information Officer Sergeant Ray Kelly, said it was a mistake, many aren't buying it. The California Immigrant Policy Center says “The department's claiming this is an ‘accident,’ but in fact it's part of a long pattern of racist attitudes and practices at the department."
On top of that, IndyBay claims that "Alameda Sheriff Targets Muslims, Ignores White Supremacists" in an article that went like this, in part: "The Alameda County Sheriff's Office applied for and received a grant targeting incarcerated Black Muslims in Alameda County. The Homeland Security CVE, or Countering Violent Extremism program, has been criticized for solely targeting Muslims as susceptible to violence and extremism, while not addressing the rising threat of white supremacists. The Sheriff's Office said that their "Operation E Pluribus Unum," or EPU, is necessary to expand local reentry services for all people, including Muslims, but civil rights advocates say the project only targets one group of people: Muslims."
Additionally, racism in the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office headed by Sheriff Gregory Ahern has been the focus of resolutions by the Oakland City Council and the Berkeley City Council calling for an audit of the department.
UPDATE: According to a number of reports, the same Alameda County Sheriff's Department Public Information Officer Sergeant Ray Kelly that was the man who retweeted the white supremacist tweets, announced on Friday, June 14th, that the Sheriff's Department would pursue a misdemeanor complaint against Masai Ujiri for battery of a police officer.
Sergeant Kelly claims that Masai Ujiri allegedly “struck our deputy in the face” when he allegedly shoved past him after NBA Finals Game 6. Sergeant Kelly said they did not detain Ujiri on the court because they didn’t want to make a spectacle on national TV:
“We decided to take the high road in light of their victory but will submit a report for complaint,” Kelly said. “We’ve got two countries involved in this. It’s not something we wanted to have happen. It didn’t have to go this route.”
But that doesn't even explain why the Alameda County Sheriff Deputy bothered to try and stop Masai Ujiri from getting on to an already crowded court. UPDATE: This is more of what Kelly told some of the media: “We were told by the NBA to strictly enforce credentialing and that no one should be allowed on the court without the proper credentials to make sure everyone is safe,” Kelly said.
Kelly claims that when the deputy tried to stop Masai Ujiri from getting onto the court, the Raptors executive shoved him and the deputy pushed him back, according to Kelly. The deputy wasn’t significantly injured but complained of pain in his jaw, reported Kelly.
Again, it still doesn't explain how the deputy came to encounter Masai Ujiri in that crowd of people.
More to come on this. Stay tuned.