Men Lie, Women Lie, Cops Don't—Unless We're Talking About the Cop Who Lied on Raptors Exec Masai Ujiri

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There are two groups of people that I don’t trust under any circumstances: cashiers when they say I can’t have extra napkins (y’all greedy with the oxtail gravy, too) and police officers when they insist that they’re acting in the best interest of Black and Brown folks.


All of the above are full of shit.

As we’ve previously reported here at The Root, Toronto Raptors President Masai Ujiri is the subject of a lawsuit alleging that he assaulted Alan Stricklanda bold-faced liar who moonlights as an Alameda County sheriff’s deputy—in the immediate aftermath of the Raptors Game 6 victory against the Golden State Warriors in the 2019 NBA Finals. This alleged assault transpired when Strickland prevented Ujiri from rushing the court to celebrate the Raptors’ first-ever NBA championship.

Here are the fine details of Strickland’s lawsuit, courtesy of our previous reporting:

In his lawsuit, Strickland alleges that he incurred “injury to his body, health, strength, activity and person” and that he continues to suffer “great mental, emotional, psychological, physical, and nervous pain and suffering.” He also alleges that the incident caused him “permanent disability” and that he’s experienced “great anxiety, embarrassment, anger, loss of enjoyment of life, injury to reputation and severe emotional and physical distress in an amount to be determined at trial.”

As a result of such a seemingly catastrophic injury—more on that later—Strickland (with his wife, Kelly, who is listed as a co-plaintiff in the suit) is seeking punitive damages, payment of all medical and incidental expenses (both to date and any required in the future), reimbursement of lost wages, legal costs for filing the lawsuit and at least $75,000 in general damages. The couple has also requested a jury trial.

As to how in the hell you incur such significant injuries during what witnesses described as a “shoving match,” in which “no punches were thrown,” is beyond me, but leave it to Strickland to tap into his mutant ability to distort the truth to try to malign and disparage an innocent Black man.

Thankfully, we now live in the day and age of technological advancements. And according to ESPN, new footage has emerged from Strickland’s own bodycam that proves that he was actually the aggressor that fateful night.


Cue shock and awe.


In conjunction with this new evidence, Ujiri filed a countersuit on Tuesday on the grounds that Strickland ain’t shit, ain’t never been shit, and won’t ever be shit.

“After being shoved and cursed at, Mr. Ujiri did not respond aggressively towards Mr. Strickland,” the suit says. “Instead, he calmly asked Mr. Strickland why he had pushed him, informed Mr. Strickland he was the Raptors’ President and held up his all-access arena credential to show it to Mr. Strickland. Rather than trying to communicate with Mr. Ujiri, Mr. Strickland chose to dismiss Mr. Ujiri’s claim that he was the Raptors’ President and ignore the all-access credential Mr. Ujiri was trying to show him. Mr. Strickland then forcefully shoved Mr. Ujiri a second time.


“Only after being unjustifiably told to ‘back the fuck up’ and shoved twice did Mr. Ujiri show any response and return a shove to Mr. Strickland’s chest. Mr. Ujiri’s defensive response was a reasonable and justified reaction to Mr. Strickland’s use of unnecessary and excessive force.”


The Raptors also released a statement in response to Ujiri’s countersuit.

“We are mindful this remains before the courts, but we have always maintained that the claims made against Masai are baseless and entirely without merit,” the statement said. “We believe this video evidence shows exactly that—Masai was not an aggressor, but instead was the recipient of two very violent, unwarranted actions. The events of that evening cast a pall over what should have been a night of celebration, and the year since.”


Thankfully, no criminal charges were ever filed against Ujiri—nor should they have been—but let’s hope that this new evidence absolves the 2013 NBA Executive of the Year of any legal culpability and that the courts do the right thing and dismiss Strickland’s lawsuit—though I don’t trust our court system, either.


Woke Up Dead

Some more details: Strickland was arrested for and plead guilty to insurance fraud in 1994. Also, there’s another angle of the incident from high up in the stands that shows Strickland’s two shoves were much stronger than Ujiri’s retaliation, which in no way could have resulted in “permanent disability.”