Police want to charge Toronto Raptors president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri with a crime for allegedly concussing an Alameda County Sheriff’s Office deputy with a two-fisted shove in the aftermath of Toronto’s Finals-clinching Game 6 win in Oakland. Soon the department is expected to file a report with the District Attorney’s office in pursuit of that outcome. One thing that report will be missing is what would surely be pretty definitive footage from the body camera of the deputy in question. It seems technology has failed us once again!
The police have said that Mr. Ujiri struck the officer in the face and that video footage backs up their account, but it has not been released. On Wednesday, a spokesman for the force clarified that it was not body-cam video from the officer, but footage from the stadium that captured the blow. The body cam, police said, switched off the instant Mr. Ujiri made contact.
This comes from a report from the Globe and Mail, which spoke to three spectators seated within 10 feet of the incident, all of whom seem to agree that what happened was a shoving match between a chubby cop and a taller and stronger NBA executive. By all accounts, including that of the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, Ujiri was stopped by the officer on his way to the court, whereupon he showed the officer his NBA identification. By all accounts, the officer shoved Ujiri and then Ujiri shoved the officer back. One eyewitness, who was seated nearby and said he saw the entire exchange, said “there is no fist going to the face.” Another eyewitness told the Globe and Mail that “Mr. Ujiri pushed the deputy hard” but that he did not hit his face. A third eyewitness reportedly said “both the sheriff and Ujiri shoved each other very hard,” but that “there were no punches thrown.”
But according to police spokesperson Sergeant Ray Kelly, Ujiri showed his identification “in a very threatening kind of way,” and “was violating [the officer’s] personal space,” and that while the officer’s shove was merely a “level 5,” Ujiri’s retaliatory shove was a very uncool “level 10.” Alas, lacking body camera footage, you will just have to imagine for yourself what crucial nuances differentiate the various levels of shoving, and what it looks like to present identification in a very threatening manner.