Multiple witnesses now disputing police’s version of Masai Ujiri incident
Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri has been accused by the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office of shoving and striking an officer in the face after he was stopped from coming onto the court to join the team’s celebration when they won the NBA championship at Oracle Arena.
One witness had already said the police’s accusations on Ujiri weren’t entirely true. Now, two more individuals were interviewed by The Globe and Mail’s Robyn Doolittle, and they are saying the exact same thing. These people were also in attendance in Game 6 and were around 10 feet away from the altercation.
Ben Baller, a celebrity jeweler and entrepreneur, said he heard the officer ask for Ujiri’s credentials, and although the Raptors executive provided some, the officer deemed it wasn’t enough to let him pass because he didn’t have the specific credentials required to get on the court. Baller added that fans were already telling the cop Ujiri’s identity, but he shook his head and pushed the executive.
Baller then said Ujiri pushed the officer back, but that there were no punches thrown at the face. This is contrary to the officer’s claim that he was hit in the face by Ujiri.
Lucas Abrenica, a 20-year-old fan, said he wasn’t aware of the fracas until it came to the part where Ujiri and the officer were shoving each other. But just like Baller, he said Ujiri didn’t punch the cop in the face:
“I don’t know who shoved first, but both the sheriff and Ujiri shoved each other very hard. They both stumbled back. … From what I saw it was just shoving. There were no punches thrown or anything like that.”
The NBA and the authorities are still investigating the incident. They will also try to find out if Ujiri was actually issued the special badge and arm band required to get on the court during the NBA Finals.