New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton apologized to former tennis player James Blake after cops tackled and arrested him after they mistook him for a suspect in a credit card fraud investigation.
“I spoke to Mr. Blake a short time ago and personally apologized for yesterday’s incident,” Bratton wrote in a statement, adding:
“Mr. Blake indicated he would be willing to meet with the Internal Affairs Bureau as our investigation continues. Additionally, he said he would be returning the Mayor’s earlier phone call to speak to him. Mr. Blake said he would like to meet with the Mayor [Bill de Blasio] and me at a future date, which we would be agreeable to.”
The cop wrestled him to the ground, which caused “a cut to his left elbow and bruises to his left leg.” At least five policemen held him at the Grand Hyatt Hotel for 15 minutes. None of the cops identified themselves, according to Blake.
“This shouldn’t have happened, and he shouldn’t have been treated this way,” stated Mayor Bill de Blasio.
The police released the former world number four after a former officer informed the cops they were holding James Blake.
Blake was at the hotel for a magazine interview. Afterwards, he headed outside to wait for a car and text on his phone. He looked up and happened to see a man rushing towards him.
“Maybe I’m naïve, but I just assumed it was someone I went to high school with or someone who was running at me to give me a big hug, so I smiled at the guy,” he explained.
After the incident, Bratton announced announced a decision to “open an investigation” about the incident.
“The nature of what he described is not what we do, not what we’re supposed to do,” he told NY1. “I will not tolerate any type of excessive use of force on the part of my police, but as always, we have that saying, the first story is never the last story.”