NEW YORK (AP) — Former tennis professional James Blake said Thursday that he wants an apology after a case of mistaken identity led police to handcuff him and take him to the ground.
“I’d like an apology,” Blake said on ABC’s “Good Morning America. “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.”
Police Commissioner William Bratton said he’d been trying to reach Blake by phone to apologize but Blake hadn’t responded to messages. He also said his department wants Blake to speak to its Internal Affairs division.
Blake said he was standing outside Manhattan’s Grand Hyatt New York hotel on Wednesday waiting to head to the U.S. Open when he looked up from his cellphone and saw an officer charging him. He said he was body-slammed.
He told officers to check his identification, and he was released. Blake said the plainclothes officer never identified himself.
The officer has been stripped of his gun and badge while the matter is investigated.
Bratton told CNN the man officers were seeking looked like “the twin brother of Mr. Blake.”
A cooperating witness had misidentified Blake to detectives investigating fraudulently purchased cellphones, said Stephen Davis, spokesman for the New York Police Department.
“Once Blake was properly identified and found to have no connection to the investigation, he was released from police custody immediately,” Davis said in a statement.
But Blake said their actions weren’t acceptable.
“I was standing there doing nothing — not running, not resisting, in fact, smiling,” he 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.