Tennis player James Blake wrongly arrested in New York


This video from the USA says about itself:

NYPD Slams Tennis Star James Blake On The Ground Before U.S. Open Appearance

10 September 2015

From Reuters news agency:

N.Y. police chief apologizes to arrested ex-tennis star

By Scott Malone

September 10, 2015

New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton apologized on Thursday to former U.S. tennis star James Blake, who was arrested after being wrongly identified as a suspect in a fraud ring and said he was concerned over how much force was used.

Blake, who is black, was surrounded by six plainclothes officers outside a Midtown Manhattan hotel on Wednesday while waiting for a car to take him to the U.S. Tennis Open. One of the officers slammed the 35-year-old man to the ground before handcuffing him.

The incident involving a well-known athlete revived questions over excessive police force that reverberated around the country after a series of police killings of unarmed black men that sparked sometimes violent protests.

“I spoke to Mr. Blake a short time ago and personally apologized for yesterday’s incident,” Bratton said in a statement. “Mr. Blake indicated he would be willing to meet with the Internal Affairs Bureau as our investigation continues.”

Bratton earlier told reporters the officer who tackled Blake had been put on desk duty while the department reviewed the incident.

“I have concerns about the takedown,” said Bratton, adding he had seen a video of the arrest.

“The concern we had: Was the force used appropriate, and the initial review – we believe it may not have been,” added Bratton, who was appointed by Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio at a time when he was trying to improve relations between police and minority residents of the city.

Police said Blake, at one time ranked fourth in the world, had been mistakenly identified by a cooperating witness as a suspect in a fraud ring.

Bratton said he was also concerned that no report had been made of Blake’s arrest and detention, which became public after the former player reported it to the New York Daily News.

Blake told ABC’s “Good Morning America” he decided to go public with the incident after discussing it with his wife and imagining how he would have felt if she had been treated in that way.

“I was furious because I thought about what I would be thinking if someone did that to my wife, if someone tackled her in broad daylight, paraded her around in a busy, crowded sidewalk in New York City with handcuffs,” Blake said.

‘100 PERCENT COOPERATE’

Blake added that he had cooperated throughout the incident with the officers, who did not immediately identify themselves as law enforcement.

“The first words out of my mouth were, ‘I’m going to 100 percent cooperate. I don’t want any incident or whatever,’ just out of reaction from what I’ve seen in the media,'” said Blake, who was on his way on Wednesday to the U.S. Open, which is being played at Flushing Meadows in the borough of Queens. …

The police department last year promised to revamp how it trained officers after 43-year-old Eric Garner died after being placed in a chokehold by officers who were trying to arrest him for suspected illegal cigarette sales on Staten Island in July 2014.

Garner’s death was one of a string of cases in the past year involving the deaths of black men in confrontations with police – including in Baltimore, Cleveland and Ferguson, Missouri – that sparked a national debate over race and justice.

Federal data show that U.S. police routinely use force when making stops of pedestrians, doing so in one out of every four non-traffic stops, according to a 2013 Justice Department report.

Some 57 percent of black respondents in a Pew Research Center poll last year said police do a poor job of using the right amount of force when they respond to situations, more than double the 22 percent of white respondents who reported that view.

That poll, of 1,501 U.S. adults, including 1,082 white adults and 153 black adults, was conducted in August 2014, days after the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. The margin of error for white respondents was 3.4 percentage points and for black respondents 9.1 percentage points.

(Reporting by Scott Malone in Boston; Additional reporting by Katie Reilly in New York; Editing by Frances Kerry and Jonathan Oatis)

Former tennis player James Blake criticizes NYC mayor for handling of false arrest in 2015: here.

7 thoughts on “Tennis player James Blake wrongly arrested in New York

  1. NYPD commissioner ‘personally apologized’ to James Blake for arrest

    Tom Hays, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

    First posted: Thursday, September 10, 2015 11:30 AM EDT | Updated: Thursday, September 10, 2015 07:06 PM EDT

    NEW YORK – The New York City police commissioner and mayor offered apologies to tennis star James Blake on Thursday as officials scrambled to deal with fallout from his mistaken arrest outside a Manhattan hotel.

    The officer who forcefully arrested Blake was also put on desk duty as the episode became a headache for the department at a time when the city is hosting the U.S. Open, one of tennis’ premier events and where Blake has been a fan favourite.

    “I spoke to Mr. Blake a short time ago and personally apologized for yesterday’s incident,” Police Commissioner William Bratton said in a statement Thursday evening. “Mr. Blake said he would like to meet with the mayor and me at a future date, which we would be agreeable to.”

    Mayor Bill de Blasio, speaking on cable’s NY1, also publicly apologized saying of his arrest, “this shouldn’t have happened and he shouldn’t have been treated this way.”

    Earlier on Thursday, the 35-year-old Blake said he was never told why he was forced to the ground and handcuffed.

    “I’d like an explanation for how they conducted themselves because I think we all need to be held accountable for our actions, and police as well,” Blake said on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

    The mishap unfolded Wednesday outside the Grand Hyatt New York hotel, where detectives were investigating a credit card fraud ring that was having retail items brought there by a delivery service, police said. A retailer had given police a photo of a man who was involved, police said.

    “If you look at that photo, it is a remarkable likeness of Mr. James Blake,” Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said at a hastily called news conference. “They look like twins.”

    The confusion intensified when a co-operating witness misidentified Blake as a suspect while Blake was standing outside the hotel waiting to head to the U.S. Open. Blake said he looked up from his cellphone and saw a plainclothes officer charging him before he was body-slammed.

    “I was standing there doing nothing — not running, not resisting, in fact, smiling,” Blake said.

    Blake told officers to check his identification, and he was released. He said the officer never identified himself.

    The NYPD took the arresting officer off the street while it conducts an internal investigation. After seeing a security video of the officer grabbing Blake, forcing him to the sidewalk and rear-handcuffing him, the commissioner said, “I have concerns about the takedown.”

    Part of the internal inquiry will focus on why the chain of command wasn’t notified of the mistake.

    “Mr. Blake has made a number of comments to the press — that’s how we first became aware of the matter,” Bratton said.

    In a statement, the United States Tennis Association said it was “deeply concerned about this troubling incident.”

    Blake “is the embodiment of a model citizen whose triumphs on and off the court continue to inspire tennis fans and non-fans alike,” the USTA said.

    Blake’s last tournament as a professional was the 2013 U.S. Open, where he lost in the first round of singles and doubles. He was ranked as high as No. 4 in the world and reached three Grand Slam quarterfinals, including at the U.S. Open in 2005 and 2006.

    Blake’s mother is white and his father was black. But he downplayed any suggestion of racial profiling and instead focused on his allegations of excessive force.

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