Last week it was reported that Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri was accused of shoving an Alameda County deputy after he wouldn’t be let on the court at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif.
It was right before he tried to celebrate his team winning the NBA championship against the Golden State Warriors. Officials also said they were considering pursuing a misdemeanor battery charge against Ujiri for the incident.
Additionally, the unnamed officer claimed Ujiri tried to get on the floor without proper credentials, but a video showed that he was holding something that looked like an ID the whole time.
On Wednesday, Sgt. Ray Kelly, a spokesman for the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, admitted to The Globe and Mail that Ujiri presented his NBA ID to the deputy. But he didn’t have the right credentials to join the celebration.
Last week, however, when Kelly spoke to USA Today, he never mentioned that Ujiri had his ID, despite what the video showed. He merely said “No credential [was] displayed.”
And in Wednesday’s interview, the sheriff’s office admitted that Ujiri told the deputy he was the Raptors’ president, showed his ID but was still stopped. This is even after a witness said others yelled to the deputy who Ujiri was.
Regardless, the sheriff’s office maintains that he still didn’t have the right credentials.
Kelly also said Wednesday that Ujiri struck the officer with “two fists” and one of the blows landed “underneath the jaw on the left side of his face.” The deputy has since hired a lawyer, who claimed his client has a “serious jaw injury,” as well as a concussion.
But those claims differ from what Kelly said last week about the incident.
“[Ujiri] 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,” he explained.
There’s also three witnesses who were at the game, 10 feet away of the skirmish, and they tell a different story.
One man, Lucas Abrenica, said “There were no punches thrown or anything like that.”
And another witness, Ben Baller, confirmed the team president showed his credentials, but the officer still pushed him back and “shook his head no.”
Greg Wiener, the third eye witness, said the deputy blocked Ujiri with his arm, Ujiri “brushed” it away, the deputy got aggressive, then pushed first.
“That’s when Mr. Ujiri pushed the deputy hard,” Wiener recalled.
Sheriff Greg Ahern, of Alameda County, said he reviewed footage of the incident, both from the Oracle Arena security cameras and the officer’s body cam, and he plans to recommend to the district attorney that Ujiri be charged with misdemeanor battery of an officer.
Ujiri still hasn’t spoken about the incident