New video: Sheriff’s deputy the 'undeniably initial aggressor' in Toronto Raptors shoving match

New video released on Tuesday shows for the first time an Alameda County sheriff’s deputy clearly shoving the Toronto Raptors president twice in the chest in an encounter that grabbed international attention.

NEW: Toronto Raptors president to countersue deputy for fraud and 'excessive force'

Deputy Alan Strickland was "undeniably the initial aggressor," according to attorneys representing Raptors president Masai Ujiri. 

The video, 6 minutes and 20 seconds of three edited clips, shows Ujiri walking onto the court on June 13, 2019 after the Raptors beat the Warriors 114-100 and Strickland putting his arm out to stop him, checking to make sure he had his security credentials. 


Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri reacts after being shoved by Alameda County Sheriff's Deputy Alan Strickland. June 13, 2019

WATCH: Video shows shoving match between deputy and Raptors president

Ujiri did have credentials out; he was seen on the video tucking his badge into his suit pocket. He was thrilled and he was trying to rush down to congratulate his victorious team. 

But Strickland tried to stop him, putting out his arm to block his path.  

Strickland is seen in the high-definition security video pushing Ujiri in the chest, as an onlooker grabs at the deputy's shoulder to calm him down. Strickland pushes him a second time. 

Strickland is heard on his own body camera telling Ujiri to "back the f--- up." 

At that point, Ujiri shoves the deputy back. 

“Why did you push me?” Ujiri asks. “I’m the president of the Raptors.”

The video clips of this 11-second encounter -- released at the start of the NBA playoffs - is the first time the public has been able to view the video.  The footage comes from Strickland’s body camera as well as two short clips from security cameras inside Oracle Arena. The footage was released through a federal lawsuit. Ujiri is being represented by the law firm of Cotchett Pitre & Mccarthy in Burlingame, Calif. 

Up until now, the public had to rely on witness accounts of the encounter, and a shaky cell phone video taken from several feet away, which circulated on social media. Witness accounts mostly corroborate what the video shows: A brief, heated altercation between the two men. 

The matter might have ended there.

But based on Strickland's telling of the story and a review of the video, Alameda County Sheriff Greg Ahern initially requested Ujiri be charged with battery of a peace officer. However, the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office declined to press charges last fall. 

Then in February, Strickland filed a federal lawsuit against Ujiri, the Raptors, Maple Leaf Entertainment at the NBA alleging Ujiri shoved him so hard on the court that he suffered physical injuries to his head, jaw, chin and teeth.

Strickland also filed a workers' compensation claim alleging Ujiri “circumvented” the security checkpoint and then tried to “storm” the court and “hit him in the face and chest with both fists.” 

Strickland also claimed Ujiri had a “violent predisposition” and acted with an “evil motive amounting to malice,” according to his suit and workers' compensation claims. 

But the release of this video as well as the testimony of several witnesses actually vindicates Ujiri, the defendant’s lawyers claim in a 108-page response. 


Alan Strickland says he had facial swelling after he was shoved by Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri. This is his photo from the hospital.

"Mr. Strickland used unnecessary and excessive force," the counterclaim states. "There was no reason to view Mr. Ujiri as a threat to anyone and no reason for Mr. Strickland to curse at Mr. Ujiri and forcefully shove him as numerous witnesses observed."

Neither Strickland, who has not been back to work in more than a year,  nor his attorney, David Mastagni, were available for immediate comment. 

Alameda County Sheriff's Sgt. Ray Kelly had no comment. 

As for whether Strickland will ever return to work is unclear. According to Transparent California, Strickland earned $224,000 a year, not including benefits, in 2018.

According to his suit, Strickland has been “prevented from attending to his usual occupation” and believes that will be the case “for a period of time in the future.”

Strickland alleged he suffered such a “shock of injury to his nervous system” that he believes “will result in some permanent disability.” 

In addition to the physical suffering, Strickland also said his “emotional well-being” also took a blow.

But his physical injuries are in serious question. 

Ujiri's lawyers pointed out that on the night he went to the hospital, Strickland had no visible facial swelling as he had claimed in his reports to police, and they provided a picture of him showing no bruises. 

The lawyers also highlighted exclusive video KTVU took in February, which showed him going out for lunch with his wife, carrying boxes and using a power saw in the spring outside his home.

Strickland's past criminal history is also troubling, legal analysts have said.  

In March, KTVU broke an exclusive story revealing that in 1994, Strickland was arrested and later convicted of insurance fraud, raising questions about his integrity. 

The fraud charge was discovered when Strickland was applying to be a San Mateo police officer in 2005 - a job he did not get.

Ujiri's attorneys said that pattern of behavior, along with this modern-day 11-second encounter is not only a "complete fabrication" and "dishonest."

But they wrote that this "narrative that has become somewhat familiar: a law enforcement officer  using their position, engages in unjustified violence against a peaceful individual, then lies about the  encounter by characterizing the victim as the aggressor."


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Security video from the Raptors Warriors game on June 13, 2019


Alan and Kelly Strickland return from having lunch. Kelly Strickland joined the federal lawsuit against the Raptors. February 2020


Alan Strickland uses a power saw in his garage. He filed a federal lawsuit against the Toronto Raptors saying he was assaulted and can't return to work. February 2020


Alan and Kelly Strickland return from having lunch. Kelly Strickland joined the federal lawsuit against the Raptors. February 2020


Alan Strickland's booking photo in 2005. He was charged with felony insurance fraud. He pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor. (San Mateo County Sheriff)

KTVU's Simone Aponte and Brooks Jarosz contributed to this report. 

Lisa Fernandez is a reporter for KTVU. Email Lisa at or call her at 510-874-0139. Or follow her on Twitter @ljfernandez