The police officer involved in the altercation with Masai Ujiri following the Toronto Raptors’ clinching championship victory, is suing the former NBA Executive of the Year for, among other things, “serious injuries to his body and nervous system” resulting in “permanent disability.” The officer has also named the NBA, the Raptors and MLSE as defendants in the lawsuit. Based on the information obtained by Shotclock Media, the defendant is seeking in excess of $100,000.00 USD. Interestingly enough, the officer’s wife is also listed as a plaintiff in the case. At issue here is whether the Raptors’ President acted unreasonably after he was stopped from accessing the basketball court after the buzzer rang and the celebration was on. The Alameda County Sheriff’s office is alleging that Masai did not have the “specific security credential” visible at the time the officer prevented Ujiri from accessing the court. To this officer, Masai Ujiri was nothing more than a man without the proper security clearance and was a potential threat that could “cause a disturbance, cause harm to a player or coach, or commit a crime.” On this note, it is important to point out that when Masai approached the officer, the officer allegedly did not recognize who Ujiri was. This prompts one to think that it would probably be prudent to brief all security personnel on, at the very least, the players and executives that would be present on the championship game day. A simple email with some pictures of Masai and other executives like the general manager may have prevented this unfortunate incident from ever occurring. At that point, it would also be much harder for the officer to allege that he had never seen Masai Ujiri before or that he could have possibly known him to be the President of the team. What happened next is what caused the officer to file the lawsuit, alleging that Masai
“attacked…and hit him in the face and chest with both fists. The force from Masai’s attack sent (the officer) backwards several feet.”
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) February 10, 2020
Where this case gets weird for me is the allegations that the NBA, MLSE, and the Raptors should have known of Ujiri’s “violent predisposition and propensity for physical violence” prior to this incident. That seems like a bit of a reach. The document filed in court goes on to state that the officer is alleging 6 separate causes of action, and is requesting a jury trial on all issues raised. The suit, which seeks medical expenses, lost wages and other damages, also accuses the defendants of failing to “provide adequate safety and security to the public” and “failing to post signs warning of danger, including the danger of Masai Ujiri.” The painting of Masai as some sort of enraged, anger-filled violent criminal ready to attack any police officer is laughable at best. Media outlets have contacted the Toronto Raptors organization for comment. An MLSE spokesperson said the organization has just been made aware of the claim. “We have no comment at this time,” they said by email. Based on how these legal proceedings usually play out in the United States, it is very possible this case will be settled out of court, with most likely Ujiri and or the Raptors and MLSE paying the defendant an amount to drop the suit. Several eyewitnesses have also surfaced stating that the officer is lying about many of the details and facts outlined in the court documents. That, however, will remain to be seen.