The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office is investigating Toronto Raptors president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri for suspicion of misdemeanor battery on a police officer, it confirmed Friday morning.
The alleged incident occurred Thursday night on the floor at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California, after the Raptors beat the Golden State Warriors to win the NBA title and Ujiri tried to join the team on the floor. He was stopped by a deputy.
«Mr. Ujiri was unknown to the deputy at that time. He [the deputy] asked him for a credential,» said Sgt. Ray Kelly, a spokesman for the sheriff’s office. «He shoved the deputy out of the way and walked toward the court. The deputy pushed back. The president came forward more with a more significant push and ended up striking the deputy in the face.»
NBC Bay Area posted video of the aftermath of the incident late Thursday night, but it does not show what happened first.
The sheriff’s office is gathering information on what occurred, talking to witnesses and members of the security teams as well as gathering available video, Kelly said Friday.
Ujiri watched the end of the game on television outside the Raptors’ locker room with other team officials. He then came down the tunnel to the floor to join the on-court celebration.
The NBA requires extra credentials to gain access to the floor when the series is clinched, including a gold armband. Kelly said the NBA had asked law enforcement officials to be extra vigilant on requiring the credentials. Kelly said Masai either didn’t have the credentials or didn’t show them.
«The incident is being looked at, and we are cooperating with authorities,» the Raptors said in statement Friday afternoon. «We look forward to resolving the situation.»
Kelly said the sheriff’s office has spoken with the NBA and that the league is aware of the investigation. As of Friday morning, the sheriff’s office had not yet spoken to the Raptors or Ujiri.
NBA spokesman Mike Bass said the league was in contact with the Raptors and local authorities and is «in the process of gathering more information.»
The investigation should be wrapped up by next week, Kelly said.
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst contributed to this report.
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