A tenuous, two-year legal battle has finally come to a close after a California law enforcement officer dropped a lawsuit against Toronto Raptors President Masai Ujiri. The lawsuit alleged that Ujiri hit the officer, Allan Strickland, "in the face and chest with both fists." Furthermore, the lawsuit alleged that Alameda County sheriff's deputy Alan Strickland endured "physical, mental, emotional, and economic injuries" following the incident. Strickland sought up to $75,000 in damages.
The matter in question took place in June 2019 as the Toronto Raptors won their first NBA title in franchise history. As the clock ticked to zero, Ujiri and other members of the organization attempted to enter the court and celebrate with their team. However, Ujiri was stopped by Strickland, who claimed that the Toronto Raptors President did not have proper credentials to enter the court. from there, a physical altercation ensued.
In the days and weeks following the incident, a video of the incident was shared with the public. The footage appears to conflict with Strickland's claim that Ujiri was the aggressor. Strickland appears to initiate contact with Ujiri and it also appears that Ujiri attempted to show him his credential multiple times.
"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. It was an exhilarating moment of achievement for our organization, for our players, for our city, for our country, and for me personally, given my long-tenured professional journey in the NBA," Ujiri stated.
In August, Ujiri opted to file a counter lawsuit. He claimed that Strickland was "undeniably the initial aggressor." He also claimed that new evidence would vindicate him. With Strickland's latest move, Ujiri has decided to drop his countersuit.
"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," Maple Leafs Sports & Entertainment, the company that owns the Raptors, stated.
"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."
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