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James Blake Arrested in Case of Mistaken Identity

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According to the following published report …

James Blake, a former tennis star once ranked fourth in the world, was thrown to the ground and arrested by the New York City Police Department in a case of mistaken identity. The officers involved in the improper arrest are now under investigation, and Blake is seeking an apology for the incident.

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FILE - In this May 26, 2013, file photo, James Blake grimaces after missing a return against Serbia's Viktor Troicki at the French Open tennis tournam...

According to the New York Daily News, Blake was standing outside the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City prior to the U.S. Open when five officers approached him, threw him to the ground, and cuffed him. One officer told Blake “Don’t say a word.” Blake was only released when a former police officer working security at the hotel recognized him and convinced the officers to turn him loose.

Blake saw the first officer, in plain clothes, rushing at 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 said. Instead, he was knocked to the ground and suffered slight injuries to his elbow and eye.

Police arrested Blake because he was misidentified in connection with a credit card scam. An individual standing next to Blake was arrested at the same time.

“You’d think they could say, ‘Hey, we want to talk to you. We are looking into something,'” Blake said. “I was just standing there. I wasn’t running. It’s not even close (to be okay). It’s blatantly unnecessary. You would think at some point they would get the memo that this isn’t okay, but it seems that there’s no stopping it.”

Blake, who studied at Harvard before turning pro, initially said he wanted the incident kept quiet, but changed his mind after consideration and discussion with his wife, as he told Good Morning America on Thursday. He now wants an apology and assurances of repercussions for the officers involved.

“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?”

NYPD commissioner Bill Bratton addressed the incident. “The nature of what he described is not what we do, not what we’re supposed to do,” he said. “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.”

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