NYPD apologizes to James Blake for mistaken identity incident
New York City police commissioner William Bratton has issued an apology to tennis player James Blake for the mistaken identity incident that caused him to be wrongfully detained on Wednesday. The former No. 4 player in the world asked for an apology on “Good Morning America” on Thursday.
The offending police officer is now on administrative duties, and his gun and badge have been removed, reports CNN's Rachel Nichols.
Blake was “slammed to the ground, handcuffed and detained” by New York police Wednesday in front of his hotel after they mistook Blake for an identity theft suspect. The incident was first reported by the New York Daily News.
“I’d like an apology,” Blake said during Thursday’s interview. “We all need to be accountable for our actions, police as well.”
Blake was detained for 15 minutes by five plainclothes officers, and sustained a cut to his left elbow and bruises on his left leg, the Daily News reported.
Blake said on Thursday that the men never told him they were police officers and never produced a badge. He offered to show his U.S. Open credential to no avail. Blake is in New York to attend the tennis tournament.
“It was definitely scary and definitely crazy,” Blake told the Daily News. “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.”
Blake’s father was black and his mother is white.
Bratton denied the incident being linked to race, but has ordered an internal fairs probe into the matter.
“Sorry, race has nothing at all to do with this,” Bratton told CNN on Thursday. “If you look at the photograph of the suspect, it looks like the twin brother of Mr. Blake. So let's put that nonsense to rest right now.”
A man standing near Blake was arrested for connection to the credit card fraud scam, the Daily News reported.
- Erin Flynn