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U.S. sheriff deputy drops lawsuit against Raptors' Masai Ujiri following 2019 NBA Finals shoving incident

Alan Strickland, the Alameda County sheriff’s deputy who was seen shoving Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri after the team beat the Golden State Warriors in the 2019 NBA Finals, dropped his federal lawsuit against the executive on Wednesday, 680 NEWS has learned.

Ujiri has also retracted his countersuit against Strickland, according to court documents obtained by 680 NEWS.

“The parties hereby stipulate under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(a)(1)(ii) that this action shall be dismissed in its entirety with prejudice, including as to all parties, claims, counter-claims, causes of action, and with all parties to bear their own attorneys’ fees and costs,” the documents say.

According to FOX KTVU, a spokesperson for the Alameda County Sheriff says Strickland has since returned to work, assigned to “administrative duties.”

Maple Leafs Sports & Entertainment (MLSE) also issued a statement on the matter, saying “Masai has been completed vindicated.”

“As we always knew he would be. We are disappointed that he and his family have had to endure the past 18 months of worry and uncertainty, but for their sake, we are pleased the legal process has come to an end – and especially pleased that the claims made against Masai and MLSE were dismissed entirely, free of any financial settlement,” a spokesperson said in an email to 680 NEWS.

“We continue to be deeply troubled by the fact that Masai was put in this position in the first place, and believe he should never have had to defend himself. Masai is taking some time to process the ordeal, and intends to address it publicly at a later date.”

The incident occurred June 13, after the Raptors won Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals against the Warriors at Oakland’s Oracle Arena. In the now widely-circulated video, Ujiri can be seen walking towards Strickland as he makes his way onto the basketball court to celebrate.

 

Ujiri looks to be taking out his credentials when Strickland appears to shove Ujiri in the chest. The two exchange words, only for Ujiri to be shoved again. He then pushes Strickland back. The footage ends shortly after that.

Ujiri’s legal team says the footage shows Strickland was “undeniably the initial aggressor.”

Ujiri released a statement in August, saying: “The video sadly demonstrates how horribly I was treated by a law enforcement officer last year in the midst of my team, the Toronto Raptors, winning its first world championship.”

In September, in filings to the United States District Court in California, Strickland’s legal team alleged Ujiri’s counterclaim was driven by race and a bias against law enforcement.

The filings stated Ujiri did not display the proper credentials needed for access to the court, leading to the altercation.

“In reality, Defendants brought this motion to take advantage of the now pervasive anti-law enforcement prejudices and to falsely allege racial animus and prejudicial bias is the reason for Plaintiff Alan Strickland’s conduct on the date of the incident,” the document said.

Strickland and his wife were seeking US$75,000 in general damages, as well as other compensation including punitive damages, lost wages, current, and future medical expenses, and legal costs as part of their lawsuit.

As part of Ujiri’s counterclaim, bodycam footage of the incident was released that appeared to support the executive’s assertion that Strickland shoved him twice despite Ujiri flashing what looks to be a card attached to his body.

The Raptors president admitted his mental health took a toll throughout the aftermath, contemplating what had transpired on what should have been one of the happiest nights of his life.

“I started to think, what if this had gone the total wrong way. There might have been situations maybe I wouldn’t have been lucky. Maybe, I would have acted different. And then, it starts to mess with your mind,” Ujiri said at the time.

“You think about everything. You think about racism and where it’s going. Yes, we say Black Lives Matter. There were times I questioned, do Black Lives Matter only to Black people?”

The Raptors and Ujiri have yet to comment.