The attorney for a police officer involved in an altercation with Toronto Raptors team president Masai Ujiri after Game 6 of the NBA Finals is shooting down claims that the incident was motivated by racism.
Ujiri initially wasn’t allowed onto the court following his team’s championship win over the Golden State Warriors on Thursday. An argument ensued, and Ujiri pushed and then struck the officer, who was working security at Oracle Arena.
Raptors star Kyle Lowry eventually came and got Ujiri so he could celebrate with the team.
ALTERNATE FAN ANGLE: You can see Masai Ujiri apparently yelling back and forth with the Police Depty he had an alleged incident with.
Kyle Lowry finally pulls him away to celebrate the #Raptors championship.
(via LIN17KD19/IG) pic.twitter.com/LH6tZote2J
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) June 14, 2019
Because Ujiri is black and the unidentified officer is white, many observers pointed to racism as the driving force behind the altercation.
But David Mastangi, a prominent civil rights attorney representing the officer, said it was simply a matter of Ujiri not having the proper credentials.
He told TMZ Sports that calling the officer racist for the dispute is adding “insult to this injury” because the “officer’s family is African-American.”
“This case is credential vs. no credential,” Mastangi said. “The issue is not race.”
As a result of the incident, the officer suffered a serious concussion as well as a jaw injury, the attorney said.
The officer is considering whether to sue Ujiri for his actions, Mastangi told KPIX-TV in San Francisco.
“All options are on the table,” he said. “Nothing is off the table. … No options are being ruled out as to how to rectify the situation.”
Mastangi said Ujiri delivered “an unprovoked hit to the jaw of the law enforcement officer.”
Alameda County Sheriff Greg Ahern reviewed the body camera footage from the event and will be recommending that the district attorney criminally charge Ujiri with misdemeanor battery on a police officer, KPIX reported.
Both the Raptors and the NBA are cooperating with local authorities, the report said.
“We are in contact with the Raptors and local authorities and in the process of gathering more information,” NBA spokesman Mike Bass said, according to USA Today.
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