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Video: Retired Tennis Star Claims Excessive Force By NYPD in Mistaken Identity Arrest

September 10, 2015  | 

VIDEO: Retired Tennis Star Claims Excessive Force By NYPD in Mistaken Identity Arrest

Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said the NYPD has been trying to apologize to former tennis star James Blake, who was mistakenly arrested by officers outside a midtown hotel.

Bratton said Thursday that Blake was “inappropriately arrested and detained” by officers in front of the Grand Hyatt New York hotel on Wednesday, but said he had “no involvement in the criminal investigation” and was “totally innocent.”

Police said members of a financial crimes task force were at the hotel investigating a series of fraudulent credit card purchases of designer shoes.

Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said a courier making a delivery mistakenly identified Blake as a suspect who he had delivered to in the past. He said a photo given to the officers of the alleged suspect also had a “remarkable likeness” to Blake.

Bratton said race was not a factor in the incident.

Blake said it’s not a case of racial profiling, but thinks it was a show of excessive force, CBS2’s Janelle Burrell reported.

“It was really just shocking,” Blake told “Good Morning America” on Thursday. “I was standing there, just waiting, minding my own business and I saw someone coming from the street running directly at me, and naïve as I may be, I thought it maybe was just someone I didn’t recognize – a high school friend or something coming to mess with me and give me a bear hug. It turned out quickly that it wasn’t. When he picked me up, he did pretty much hug me, but he picked me up and body slammed me, put me on the ground, told me to turn over and shut my mouth and put the cuffs on me. ”

The Harvard-educated tennis star, who once ranked fourth in the world, was waiting outside of the hotel for a car to take him to the US Open when he said he was tackled, pinned to the ground and handcuffed.

Comments (4)

Displaying 1 - 4 of 4

OK @ 9/10/2015 3:53 PM

Bratton said Thursday that Blake was “inappropriately arrested and detained"

I like Bratton, but I can not see how this stop was inappropriate. A witness/victim id's the guy and the photo looks similar. Was it unfortunate? Yes, but not inappropriate.

Jon Retired LEO @ 9/10/2015 8:02 PM

They won't take that courier's word for anything anymore.

Robert @ 9/11/2015 11:28 AM

You cannot see how tackling someone, who is not running or resisting is inappropriate? I guess you feel that the police are allowed to tackle and handcuff anyone for any pretense?
If the articles are correct, the guy they arrested didn't run..the guy in the hotel they arrested later didn't run..there was no violence. Except by the detective.

This should be an assault charge ..IF the articles are correct.

I guess you don't see how these actions / this type of police activity reduce the trust in the system. I really hope you are not an active LEO or even worse an LEO trainer or leader.

What should have happened, is the detective should have approached the "suspect". Stated he was police and asked if he could talk to him about a police matter. Asked to see his ID, and then state he was identified as a suspect about cell phones/stolen credit cards.
After 5-10 minutes of discussion, the entire incident would have been over...and everyone walks away "happy" with the result.

Tom Ret @ 10/2/2015 9:38 AM

I could go along with the assessment that this was just an unfortunate
incident if the suspect was known to resist, be armed, wanted for a serious
felony etc. Fraudulent credit cards is not one of these. The officer, in my mind,
should have identified himself and questioned the subject prior to any arrest
much less grabbing him and taking him to the ground. As it turned out, this was an innocent citizen who had every right to not be man handled by the police. The city likely will be sued and lose and the officer should at the very least be disciplined and fired if this is a pattern of conduct on his part. Any officer, current or retired, should ask themselves when evaluating this officer's performance, if they or their loved ones would want to be handled by the police in this manner. The officer will probably know by now that acting impetuously with unwarranted use of force will cost him and the city. No police training would teach such tactics as used in this case.

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