Raptors exec being investigated over alleged altercation at NBA Finals

Ben Krimmel
June 14, 2019 - 10:46 am

A sheriff's deputy was allegedly pushed and struck in the face by a man believed to be Toronto Raptors president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri Thursday night at Oracle Arena.

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According to the Alameda County Sheriff's Office, the incident involving a man, who is believed to be Ujiri, and the sheriff's deputy took place moments after the Raptors defeated the Warriors in Game 6 of the NBA Finals.

Video from the scene does not show the alleged altercation between Ujiri and the deputy, but there is noise from an apparent commotion. The video does show a man and Ujiri engaged in a confrontation with a sheriff's deputy and shows the other man attempting to diffuse the situation by stepping between Ujiri and the deputy and saying, "No! No! No! No!"

It was reported the officer denied Ujiri access to the court following the game “because he didn’t have the proper credentials,” per The San Francisco Chronicle.

“(The deputy) did not know who the man was and asked for the credential, and that’s when he tried to push past our deputy, and our deputy pushed him back, and there was another push that kind of moved up and struck our deputy in the face,” spokesman for the sheriff's office Sgt. Ray Kelly said. “At that point, several bystanders intervened and the executive did ultimately get back onto the court without displaying credentials.”

The sheriff's office said he is being investigated for misdemeanor battery of a police officer.

The video closes with Ujiri being escorted to the court and being greeted by Raptors guard Kyle Lowry and shows Ujiri holding what appears to be his NBA Finals credential in his right hand. Ujiri was not detained at the arena and joined the team's celebration of their first NBA title.

Almost immediately after the game concluded it was reported the Washington Wizards are preparing to make Ujiri a substantial offer to run the team's basketball operations.

Ujiri is not in custody and no arrest was made, but officials said officers are conducting a follow-up investigation and are planning to hand the case to the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office.

"We are working with the Oakland Police Department to file a report and contact witnesses and review video," Kelly said.

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