Oakland, CA – A sheriff’s deputy who was seriously injured during a post-championship game altercation is considering a lawsuit against the general manager of the Toronto Raptors.
The altercation occurred just moments after the Toronto Raptors defeated the Golden State Warriors in the National Basketball Association (NBA) championship game in Oakland on June 13, USA Today reported.
Masai Ujiri, president of the Raptors, made a run for the court after his team won on June 13, but he wasn’t displaying the proper credentials to get onto the court.
NBA rules said anyone going onto the basketball court had to have a gold armband, USA Today.
It wasn’t known if Ujiri had an armband with him but video showed he was not wearing it or otherwise displaying it when he tried to get through the security line.
So a deputy stopped the team's executive from accessing the court where his team was celebrating, and it didn’t go over well, USA Today reported.
Alameda County Sheriff’s Department Sergeant Ray Kelly said that Ujiri used his arm to hit the deputy on the side of the face, KPIX reported.
Ujiri is now the focus of a criminal investigation into the incident.
A law enforcement source told KPIX that the deputy is considering a lawsuit against the Raptors’ general manager, the team, and the NBA.
The deputy has hired high-profile civil rights attorney David Mastagni.
“All options are on the table. No options are off the table,” Mastagni told KPIX.
He confirmed he had been retained by the deputy but did not give away their legal plans.
Mastagni referred to the incident “an unprovoked significant hit to the jaw of the law enforcement officer,” KPIX reported
The deputy hasn’t been able to return to work yet due to the injuries he sustained as a result of his altercation with Ujiri.
“He has a serious concussion; a temporomandibular joint injury, which is a serious jaw injury,” Mastagni told KPIX.
The attorney also expressed concern that his client, a 20-year veteran of the sheriff’s department, has been described as a “racist” in the wake of the incident.
After the attack on his deputy, Alameda County Sheriff Greg Ahern personally reviewed the footage from the deputy’s body camera and from security cameras inside Oracle Arena, according to KPIX.
Sheriff Ahern said that he completely supported the deputy’s actions and will recommend that the district attorney charge Ujiri criminally for misdemeanor battery of a police officer.
The Raptors have said they are cooperating with the investigation, KPIZ reported.