James Blake,a retired professional tennis player was slammed to the ground and detained outside of a hotel in New York City on Wednesday by five white NYPD officers who mistook him for a criminal suspect.
Blake, who is black, narrated the ordeal to the New York Daily News.He said he had just answered questions for a writer from a tennis magazine, and was standing outside of the Grand Hyatt hotel texting when he saw a man in a t-shirt and shorts charging towards him.
According to him, "Maybe I'm naïve, but I just assumed it was someone I went to high school with or something who was running at me to give me a big hug, so I smiled at the guy," he told the Daily News.
The officer, who Blake said was not wearing a badge, picked him up and threw him down on the ground, ordering him to lay face down, and told him, "don't say a word."
Before you read the concluding part, Tell me, was that officer a rookie or just plain stupid, because how can a man who is allegedly in a theft ring/a thief , stand and smile at a cop?
When Blake promised to cooperate and asked the officer what was happening, he was met with a firm "We'll tell you. You are in safe hands."
"I didn't feel very safe," Blake said.
After that, four other officers arrived on the scene, surrounding Blake as he lay on the sidewalk.
He was told that he had been identified by two unnamed people as someone involved in an identity theft ring in the area, and remained handcuffed and detained for 15 minutes before the last of the five officers realized their mistake and apologized — though he did not receive an apology from the first officer who tackled him.
When asked if he thought the incident was a case of racial profiling, he told the Daily News, "I don't know if it's as simple as that. 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."