Bringing The Court Process To A Conclusion.

by Chris O'Leary

Eighteen months after an unwanted altercation with an Alameda County sheriff’s deputy, Masai Ujiri can step away from the lengthy legal dispute that ensued. 

Alan Strickland and his wife, Kelly Strickland, filed for dismissal of their lawsuit on Wednesday in a California district court. 

Strickland attempted to stop Ujiri, the Raptors’ president, from walking onto the court after the Raptors had defeated the Golden State Warriors for the NBA title in Game 6 of the NBA Finals on June 13, 2019. Bodycam footage showed Strickland stepping in front of, then shoving Ujiri with two hands as Ujiri was attempting to present a credential. 

Ujiri’s subsequent countersuit that alleged unauthorized use of force by Strickland has also been dropped, bringing the court process to its conclusion. 

“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.” 

Release of Strickland’s bodycam footage added yet another talking point to the ongoing pursuit of equality in terms of police treatment that Black people receive in North America and around the world. The Raptors and the NBA were leaders in that discussion, particularly in the bubble this past year and continue to seek ways to find justice and equality on that front. Simply put, Black Lives Matter. 

“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,” the MLSE spokesperson said. 

“Masai is taking some time to process the ordeal, and intends to address it publicly at a later date.”

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