New York Police Tackle And Handcuff Blake In Situation Of Mistaken Identify

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Copyright © 2015. No duplication is permitted without permission from Bob Larson Tennis.

Former player James Blake was pondering his next move after being tackled to the ground and later surrounded by five plainclothes New York police outside the official US Open hotel in what was a case of mistaken identity.

The tabloid New York Daily news reported that the incident involving the two-time Open quarter-finalist happened as Blake was waiting on 42nd street around noon in front of the Grand Hyatt hotel for a car to take him to a corporate appearance at the tennis tournament.

The newspaper said that he suddenly saw someone racing towards him and the next moment was knocked to the cement on one of the busiest of Midtown streets. The player was then handcuffed, with police claiming they suspected him of working with an identity theft ring they insisted was operating in the area.

The posse of white officers eventually realized their error, letting Blake go after 15 minutes of duress and questioning. California-based Blake said he would likely pursue the distasteful matter.

“It was definitely scary and definitely crazy,” said the former number four, who suffered a cut to his left elbow and bruises to his left leg. “To me it’s as simple as unnecessary police force, no matter what my race is. In my mind there’s probably a race factor involved, but no matter what there’s no reason for anybody to do that to anybody.

“You’d think they could say, ‘Hey, we want to talk to you. We are looking into something. I was just standing there. I wasn’t running. It’s not even close (to be okay). It’s blatantly unnecessary. You would think at some point they would get the memo that this isn’t okay, but it seems that there’s no stopping it.”

Blake said that when he saw what turned out to be a cop running at him, he assumed it was someone he knew.

“Maybe I’m naïve, but I just assumed it was someone I went to high school with or something who was running at me to give me a big hug, so I smiled at the guy.”

The officer, not wearing a badge, threw him to the pavement and made him roll over on his face without any explanation at all. After being detained, the paper said Blake was released without ceremony, with the man who tackled him saying nothing by way of apology.

Blake was reported to be ready to seek an apology from the New York police as well as possible action against those officials involved.

“I have resources to get to the bottom of this. I have a voice,” Blake said. “But what about someone who doesn’t have those resources and doesn’t have a voice? The real problem is that I was tackled for no reason and that happens to a lot of people who don’t have a media outlet to voice that to.”

Police later issued a statement:
“Today James Blake was detained by police in midtown Manhattan in regards to an ongoing investigation into fraudulently purchased cell phones, after being misidentified by a cooperating witness. Once Blake was properly identified and found to have no connection to the investigation, he was released from police custody immediately. In regards to the alleged improper use of force, the Police Commissioner directed the internal affairs bureau to investigate.”


Copyright © 2015. No duplication is permitted without permission from Bob Larson Tennis.