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.