Friday, September 11, 2015

James Blake demands an apology from cop who body-slammed him to the ground as NYPD commissioner admits 'it should not have happened'

OF COURSE the assault was racially motivated.  Blacks are so often un-co-operative with the cops that the cops go in hard from the get-go

New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton has apologized for the mistaken arrest of retired tennis star James Blake, but has quashed allegations that the athlete's race had anything to do with the incident.

Blake, 35, was waiting for a car to pick him up to attend events at the U.S. Open on Wednesday when he was tackled by a cop who mistook him for a suspect in an identity theft case. He claims it took police 15 minutes to realize they had nabbed the wrong man.

Usually a fierce defender of his officers, Bratton broke character on Thursday and was quick to offer an apology to Blake.  'We are very interested in speaking with Mr. Blake... to extend our apology. It should not have happened,' Bratton said, according to NBC News.

He explained that the man officers were looking for could be the 'twin brother' of Blake, but that the way Blake described being 'body-slammed' to the ground is 'very disturbing' and not the way officers are trained to behave. The officer who first arrested Blake has been put on modified duty while the department conducts an internal investigation, Bratton said.

At the same time, Bratton shut down questions that the rough arrest had anything to do with Blake's African-American ethnicity.

'Sorry, race has nothing at all to do with this,' Bratton said. '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, race has nothing to do with this. We have a witness who identified Mr. Blake as an individual that he had sold a phone to and had been given a false credit card,' he said.

Bratton added that he wants to apologize to Blake, but has been unable to contact him at his hotel. He not only wants to say sorry, but says officers need to interview Blake to get his version of events for the official record.

That counters claims Blake made earlier in the morning, when he appeared on Good Morning America. Blake said he still hadn't received an apology from the NYPD despite many reporters being able to track down his contact information.

Blake says while he initially didn't want to talk publicly about the arrest, he changed his mind after talking to his wife.

'She said, "What if this happened to me?" Blake recalled to GMA. 'Immediately, I was furious because I thought about what I would be thinking if someone did that to my wife, if someone tackled her in broad daylight, paraded her around in a busy, crowded sidewalk in New York City with handcuffs with her cuffed behind her back, and taking away her dignity.'

Following the incident, Blake told his version of events to the New York Daily News and said that there was 'probably a race factor'  in his arrest.  But on GMA Thursday morning, Blake backtracked those comments, saying he believes the issue is the force cops used when they arrested him.  'This was a case of excessive force, you’re not making it about racial profiling,' Roberts asked him.  'No,' Blake responded.

Following the incident on Wednesday, Blake said he chose to share his story because there are so many other victims of police assault that do not have a public platform.

'It's hard to believe this can still be happening,' he told the Daily News. 'It was definitely scary and definitely crazy.'

Blake told the tabloid that he had just finished up an interview with a tennis reporter Wednesday morning when he went outside the Grand Hyatt  to catch a car to Flushing Meadows.

He says he was texting when he looked up from his phone and noticed a white man in shorts and a t-shirt begin to charge at him. But at first, he didn't think there was a cause for concern.

'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,' Blake told the Daily News.

For his politeness, Blake was rewarded with a tackle to the ground. Once the undercover cop was on top of him on the sidewalk, he was told: 'don't say a word'.

Blake then told the officer that he was going to cooperate but wanted to know what the issue was. The officer, who was not wearing a badge, promised to tell Blake and added that he is in 'safe hands'.

'I don't feel very safe,' Blake allegedly said.

Eventually a group of five police officers, all of whom were white, gathered around to make the arrest. Blake says he gave them his ID and U.S. Open pass and says he waited handcuffed for 15 minutes until they figured out that they had made a mistake.

A cooperating witness had allegedly misidentified Blake as a man who had been involved in an identify theft ring operating out of the hotel.

After he was finally released, Blake says that the officer who pushed him to the ground didn't even say sorry. He says he suffered a cut to his left elbow and bruises to his left leg in the accidental arrest. After the arrest, he went to the U.S. Open as planned.

Following the incident, an NYPD spokesman issued a statement to Daily Mail Online, saying: 'Today James Blake was detained by police in midtown Manhattan in regards to an ongoing investigation into fraudulently purchased cell phones, after being misidentified by a cooperating witness.

Once Blake was properly identified and found to have no connection to the investigation, he was released from police custody immediately. In regards to the alleged improper use of force, the Police Commissioner directed the internal affairs bureau to investigate.'

Blake was born in Yonkers, New York and was raised in both New York and Connecticut and attended Harvard before dropping out after his sophomore year to turn professional.

He played professionally from 2001 until 2013, and was ranked the fourth best player in the world in 2006. He retired from the sport in August 2013 and now lives in San Diego with his wife and their two daughters.

Last week he announced he would be running in the New York City marathon to raise money for cancer research.

Original report here

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