Sheriff's office investigating alleged altercation involving Raptors president
CTVNews.ca staff, with files from The Canadian Press
Published Friday, June 14, 2019 11:14AM EDT
Last Updated Friday, June 14, 2019 9:51PM EDT
The local sheriff's office in Oakland, Calif., is reviewing an alleged altercation involving Raptors president Masai Ujiri and a sheriff’s deputy, just moments after Toronto became first-time NBA champions.
There are no charges pending at this time, according to a sergeant who spoke with CTV News Channel, but the office is investigating allegations that Ujiri assaulted the sheriff’s deputy after he confronted the Raptors president for walking onto the court, possibly without credentials.
“We had meetings with the NBA pre-game and at halftime that say under no circumstances does anybody get down onto that court without credentials,” said Sgt. J.D. Nelson with Alameda County Sheriff’s office in a phone interview.
Based on an initial review of video acquired from fans in the arena, Nelson said this is what he understands occurred: “A deputy confronts a person, who later turns out to be your general manager. He doesn’t know who he is and he doesn’t have his credentials displayed. He confronts him over it and a pushing match ensues over that. Ultimately the deputy is struck in the jaw…”
However, one Warriors fan who was at the game and says he witnessed the incident disputes that the deputy was struck in the face.
Greg Wiener, a season ticket holder, told CTV News that the deputy touched Ujiri first in an effort to stop him from going onto the basketball court and Ujiri “shoved him hard” in response. But there was “no hit in the face, no punch,” Wiener said.
He said it appeared that Ujiri’s NBA badge was not visible and the deputy was guarding the area to make sure that only those allowed on the court made it through.
Though early reports suggested that charges were pending against Ujiri, Nelson clarified that that is not the case. But he also did not rule out the possibility of charges.
“That would only happen if the case is presented to the district attorney and that has not happened as of now,” he told CTV News Channel.
As for the deputy’s condition, Nelson said that he has “some soreness.”
Wiener said he believes that while Ujiri was “wrong” to shove the deputy, there should be no charges laid in the case.
A spokeswoman for the Raptors told the Canadian Press that the team looked forward to resolving the situation and were co-operating with U.S. authorities. The Alameda County district attorney did not immediately respond to Canadian Press’ requests for comment.