OAKLAND — The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office confirmed Friday morning it is pursuing a misdemeanor complaint against Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri for battery of a police officer after an altercation following Game 6 of the NBA Finals on Thursday night, a spokesman for the department told USA TODAY Sports.
Ujiri is accused of twice shoving an officer and striking him in the face after he was stopped from coming onto the court to join the Raptors’ postgame celebrationat the Golden State Warriors’ Oracle Arena because he did not display a proper credential. Video of the aftermath of that incident was captured by NBC Bay Area, which was the first to report the complaint against Ujiri.
“We were told to strictly enforce the credentialing policy and not allow anyone onto the court without a credential, so our deputies were doing that,” Sgt. Ray Kelly, a spokesman for the sheriff’s office, said. “Our deputy contacted Mr. Masai Ujiri as he attempted to walk onto the court. He had no credential displayed, and our deputy asked for his credential.
“Mr. Ujiri didn’t produce them and pushed our deputy out of the way to gain access to the court. At that point our deputy tried to stop him and pushed him backward and then Mr. Ujiri came back with a second shove, a more significant push that, with his forward momentum, his arm struck our deputy in the face.
“At that point our deputy pushed Mr. Ujiri away again and some NBA security people and others intervened and he ended up walking onto the court.”
Kelly declined to name the officer and said the police chose not to detain Ujiri on the court because it wouldn’t have been in “anyone’s best interests” to do that on national television, as the Raptors were preparing for the postgame trophy ceremony.
“We decided to take the high road in light of their victory but will submit a report for complaint,” Kelly said.
It will be up to the district attorney whether charges are brought against Ujiri.
“We’ve got two countries involved in this,” Kelly said. “It’s not something we wanted to have happen. It didn’t have to go this route.”
A Raptors spokesperson told USA TODAY Sports Friday morning that the team is aware of the situation but had no further comment at the time.
Ujiri, 48, has been president of the Raptors for six seasons, and he has been instrumental in building a championship-winning team while overseeing all facets of basketball operations.
Ujiri previously worked with the Denver Nuggets, where he was named 2012-13 NBA Executive of the Year.
He got his front-office start in Toronto in 2007 when he joined the franchise as director of global scouting.