The Alameda County sheriff's deputy who sued Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri over an altercation that occurred in Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals dropped his lawsuit Wednesday.
Alan Strickland, who alleged Ujiri caused "permanent disability," dropped his lawsuit against Ujiri, the Raptors and Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment just shy of six months after Ujiri's lawyers introduced body-cam footage of Strickland initiating the confrontation as part of the executive's countersuit. Ujiri dropped the countersuit Wednesday.
"Masai has been completely vindicated, as we always knew he would be," an MLSE spokesperson said in a statement. "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.
"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."
Strickland claimed in his suit that Ujiri caused "injury to [Strickland's] head, body, health, strength, nervous system, and person, all of which have caused and continue to cause [Strickland] great mental, emotional, psychological, physical, and nervous pain and suffering" after the deputy refused to let Ujiri onto the floor at Oakland Arena when the Raptors beat the Warriors in Game 6 of the NBA Finals, clinching Toronto's first championship. Ujiri didn't display the proper credentials, according to Strickland.
Footage released by Ujiri's lawyers showed the deputy pushing Ujiri twice before the executive shoved him back, and not as forcefully as Strickland described. Ujiri is heard identifying himself as the Raptors' president to Strickland after the deputy pushed him and told him to "back the f--k up."
Ujiri, who is Black, alleged in a statement after the footage was released last August that Strickland racially profiled him.
"Because I’m the [president of an] NBA team, I had access to resources that ensured I could demand and fight for my justice," Ujiri said in the statement. "So many of my brothers and sisters haven’t had, don’t have, and won’t have the same access to resources that assured my justice. And that’s why it’s important for all of us to keep demanding justice."
Strickland filed suit against Ujiri exactly a year ago Wednesday. In October of 2019, the Alameda County District Attorney's office opted not to charge Ujiri.