Ex-U.S. tennis star James Blake slammed to ground as victim of mistaken identity: report

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James Blake Allegedly Tackled by NYPD in Mistaken Bust


Former tennis star James Blake was slammed to the ground, handcuffed and detained for about 15 minutes in New York City on Wednesday before police realized they had the wrong man in an identity theft ring, New York's Daily News reported.

The incident occurred as Blake, formerly the world's fourth-ranked player, was waiting for a car outside a Midtown Manhattan hotel to take him to the U.S. Open, he told the newspaper.

Blake said that after being shoved to the sidewalk, he was detained by five white plainclothes city police officers. But the New York native, who is black, stopped short of calling it racial profiling.

"I don't know if it's as simple as that," the 35-year-old Blake told the News. "To me it's as simple as unnecessary police force, no matter what my race is.

"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."

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Ex-U.S. tennis star James Blake slammed to ground as victim of mistaken identity: report
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 tournament in Paris. Internal affairs detectives are investigating claims by former tennis professional James Blake that he was thrown to the ground and then handcuffed while mistakenly being arrested Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2015, at a New York hotel, police said. Blake, who's biracial, told the Daily News he wasn't sure if he was arrested because of his race but said the officer who put him in handcuffs inappropriately used force. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler, File)
James Blake hits a backhand during his Legends match with Andy Roddick at the New Haven Open tennis tournament in New Haven, Conn., on Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014. (AP Photo/Fred Beckham)
James Blake of the U.S. team serves the ball to Croatian team's Marin Cilic during their Davis Cup quarterfinal tennis match, in Porec, Croatia, Sunday, July 12, 2009. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)
FILE - In this Aug. 28, 2013 file photo, James Blake reacts during a first round match against Ivo Karlovic, of Croatia, at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York. Officials say firefighters have found three bodies in a burning mansion owned by a Blake in Tampa. Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Spokeswoman Cristal Bermudez Nunez says the home is owned by James Blake, once ranked fourth in the world. She says neighbors have told detectives that Blake hasn’t lived in the house for a while and was renting it out. She also says detectives haven’t talked with Blake yet. Blake’s agent, Carlos Fleming, says the former tennis player is not in Florida. Authorities say the fire was reported to them at 6 a.m. Firefighters were still on the scene midmorning Wednesday, May 7, 2014.(AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
FILE - In this Aug. 27, 2012 file photo, James Blake returns a shot to Lukas Lacko, of Slovakia, in the first round of play at the 2012 US Open Tennis tournament in New York. Blake says he will retire from tennis after the U.S. Open. The 33-year-old Blake announced his decision at a news conference at Flushing Meadows on Monday, Aug. 26, 2013, the opening day of the year's last Grand Slam tournament. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens, File)
James Blake reaches for a shot from Milos Raonic of Canada, during the third round of play in the U.S. Open tennis tournament, Saturday, Sept. 1, 2012, in New York. (AP Photo/Henny Ray Abrams)
James Blake autographs oversized tennis balls after his match against Lukas Lacko, of Slovakia, in the first round of play at the 2012 US Open Tennis tournament, Monday, Aug. 27, 2012, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
USA's James Blake serves a ball to France's Jeremy Chardy during their first round match at the Davidoff Swiss Indoors tennis tournament in Basel, Switzerland, Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2009. (AP Photo/Keystone/Georgios Kefalas)
James Blake reacts while playing Lukas Lacko, of Slovakia, at the 2012 US Open Tennis tournament, Monday, Aug. 27, 2012, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
James Blake returns a serve from Roger Federer, from Switzerland, during a match at the Western & Southern Open tennis tournament, Thursday, Aug. 18, 2011 in Mason, Ohio. Federer won 6-4, 6-1. (AP Photo/Al Behrman)
James Blake tosses his serve during a match against Marcel Granollers, of Spain, in the second round of play at the U.S. Open tennis tournament on Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012, in New York. Blake won 6-1, 6-4, 6-2. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
James Blake of the U.S., celebrates his victory over France's Arnaud Clement during the men's singles first round match at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Tuesday Jan. 19, 2010. (AP Photo/John Donegan)
James Blake of U.S. plays a return to Andy Murray of Britain during their Queen's Club grass court championships final tennis match in London, Sunday, June 14, 2009. Murray won by 7-5, 6-4. (AP Photo/Sang Tan)
James Blake of the United States serves during the match against Ivo Karlovic of Croatia during the Madrid Open Tennis in Madrid, on Wednesday, May 13, 2009. Blake won 6-7, 6-4, 7-6(4). (AP Photo/Juan Manuel Serrano)
James Blake, of the United States, hits to Steve Darcis, of Belgium, during their match at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, Thursday, Aug. 28, 2008. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
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Police said Blake had been mistakenly identified by "a cooperating witness" as being involved in a ring dealing in fraudulently purchased cellphones. They added that allegations of excessive force would be investigated by internal affairs.

"Once Blake was properly identified and found to have no connection to the investigation, he was released from police custody immediately," the New York Police Department said in a statement.

Investigators reviewed surveillance video of the incident and one officer has been placed on modified assignment, the NYPD said late on Wednesday.

Blake, who had been scheduled to make a corporate appearance for Time-Warner Cable at the U.S. Open tournament in the borough of Queens, suffered a cut to his left elbow and bruises to his left leg.

Blake said he was telling the story to highlight the issue of excessive police force.

"I have resources to get to the bottom of this," he said. "I have a voice. But what about someone who doesn't have those resources and doesn't have a voice?"

(Reporting by Steve Ginsburg in Washington; Editing by Peter Cooney and Himani Sakar)

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