This does not look good for the NYPD. Former tennis star James Blake got the opposite of a warm welcome when he returned to New York on Sept 9. after being reportedly slammed to the ground and handcuffed by police in an investigation gone horribly wrong.
James Blake, 35, the former fourth-ranked tennis player in the world, was allegedly the unfortunate victim of a police investigation gone horribly wrong in New York City on Sept. 9. The tennis star was reportedly slammed to the ground, handcuffed and detained by several officers after being mistaken for an identity theft suspect. How did this happen?!
The ex tennis star, who is African-American, was on his way to watch the US Open and waiting for a ride outside the Grand Hyatt Hotel around noon when he was allegedly wrongly identified as a suspect in an ongoing investigation of a cellphone thief by an approaching officer. The Harvard-educated athlete reportedly looked up from his phone and saw a man, in civilian clothing, charging at him before being lifted up and thrown to the ground. Soon five officers were surrounding him, claiming he had been identified as someone involved in an identity-theft ring operation in the area. James said he was handcuffed for about 15 minutes before the last arriving officer realized they had identified the wrong person and apologized.
“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,” James told NY Daily News of the man who charged him. “It was definitely scary and definitely crazy. In my mind there’s probably a race factor involved, but no matter what there’s no reason for anybody to do that to anybody.”
The incident was made worse when James revealed that none of white officers identified themselves at the time, and instead told him “don’t say a word,” when he asked why he was being detained. The cop that was responsible for tackling him also failed to apologize after the incident, which NYPD commissioner Bill Bratton has since called, “very disturbing” in a follow up press interview.
Rightfully so, James has said he would like an apology from the police department, and hopes to publicize this incident in order to highlight yet another example of excessive policing. “I have resources to get to the bottom of this. I have a voice,” Blake said. “But what about someone who doesn’t have those resources and doesn’t have a voice?”
What do YOU think, HollywoodLifers — Did these officers overreact? Should they be punished for their actions, or were they justified? Sound off in the comments below.
— Alyssa Montemurro