Former tennis star James Blake was on his way to watch the U.S. Open in New York when he was detained and arrested on Wednesday.
Blake, a former #4 ranked tennis player, was tackled to the ground and cuffed by overzealous NYPD officers outside the 4-star Grand Hyatt Hotel.
Officers were investigating a credit card ring who used stolen credit cards to purchase cell phones and had them delivered to the Grand Hyatt.
A delivery man pointed out 2 black men — one of whom was Blake — to police.
Blake, who is mixed race, was tackled and pushed against a wall by police. He was cuffed and detained for 30 minutes until a NYPD detective told the cops who Blake was.
Blake, 35, said the officer who tackled him didn’t tell him why he was being arrested. “I’ll tell you later,” he quoted the officer as saying. Blake added that the plainclothes officer did not identify himself.
The officer was placed on administrative duties (desk duty) and stripped of his gun and badge until the investigation is completed.
The other 5 officers who were with the arresting officer are also under investigation by Internal Affairs.
The NYPD claims Blake’s arrest was a case of mistaken identity. They said the man they wanted could have been Blake’s twin.
Commissioner Bill Bratton called Blake’s arrest “very disturbing.”
“He has a right to be upset about it,” Bratton said Wednesday night.
During a press conference on Thursday Bratton said he reviewed the video footage of the arrest.
“Mr. Blake was inappropriately detained. Mr. Blake had no role or involvement in the criminal investigation that we were conducting.”
Bratton and Mayor Bill de Blasio both attempted to reach Mr. Blake by phone, but Blake refuses to take their calls.
“It’s been a very hectic and crazy day,” Blake told The NY Post after his arrest.