You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton, Mayor de Blasio plan to apologize to tennis star James Blake for rough arrest

New York Daily News logo New York Daily News 9/10/2015 TINA MOORE, EDGAR SANDOVAL, RACHELLE BLIDNER, CORKY SIEMASZKO
UP NEXT
UP NEXT

The city’s top cop said Thursday he and Mayor de Blasio both intend to apologize to retired tennis star James Blake after he was slammed to a Manhattan sidewalk by a cop who mistook him for a credit card thief.

“I would be very interested in talking to him to extend my apologies,” Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said. “Mr. Blake had no role or involvement in the criminal investigation that we were conducting and was totally innocent.”

Blake said he would “like an apology."

"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,” he told ABC News.

EXCLUSIVE: EX-TENNIS STAR JAMES BLAKE TACKLED BY WHITE COPS

Bratton said he was also concerned that the officer, whom he did not identify, failed to report his error to police brass.

It took Blake coming forward to The Daily News with accusations of being manhandled Wednesday by a plainclothes cop outside the Grand Hyatt Hotel to put the incident on the NYPD’s radar.

“My concern is that after the release there's department protocols that should have been followed but apparently were not,” he said. “Mr. Blake has made a number of comments to the press. That's how we became aware of the matter.”

Investigators have not yet spoken with the officer who bounced Blake off the pavement. He was placed on modified duty and had his gun and badge yanked after detectives viewed the surveillance video from the hotel.

“I have concerns about the takedown,” Bratton said.

The Civilian Complaint Review Board has also opened an investigation after receiving a referral from the NYPD’s Internal Affair Bureau, sources said.

But Patrolmen's Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch said they believe “that placing this officer on modified duty is premature and unwarranted.”

“No police officer should ever face punitive action before a complete review of the facts,” he said.

Blake, who was once ranked No. 4 in the world, is black. The officer who tackled him is white.

“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,” Blake told The News on Wednesday.

Bratton on Thursday insisted race didn’t figure into the arrest.

“Sorry, race has nothing at all to do with this,” he said earlier on CNN. “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.”

LUPICA: JAMES BLAKE DESERVES AN APOLOGY FROM NYPD, MAYOR

Blake found himself in the crosshairs Wednesday after he inadvertently walked into the middle of a NYPD sting operation on a internet credit card theft ring.

A courier working with cops had just delivered some high-end fashion shoes to a 27-year-old British citizen named James Short who was immediately busted after paying with a purloined American Express card, police said.

But when asked to point out Short’s alleged accomplice, the courier pointed to Blake who was standing nearby and texting on his phone.

“This was an instantaneous type of arrest,” Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said. “That's him. He was 8 feet away and that's why he was arrested.”

When police realized they nabbed the wrong man, they raced inside the Hyatt and quickly arrested another Brit, 26-year-old Jarmaine Gray.

“There's a remarkable likeness between the two,” Boyce said of Gray and Blake.

Blake, who suffered a cut to his left elbow and bruises to his left leg, told The News none of the cops involved in the arrest identified themselves — including the shorts- and T-shirt-clad cop who charged straight at him and tackled him on E. 42nd St.

“The reason for that is the arresting officer was working undercover in a surveillance atmosphere,” Boyce said. “So he was not showing his identification.”

Blake, who was on his way to a corporate appearance for Time Warner Cable at the U.S. Open when he was arrested, said he was turned loose only after a retired cop who happened to be at the scene recognized him and told the officers, “That is James Blake, the tennis player.”

Charlie Sanders, 55, who sells newspapers at Park Ave. and 42nd St., said he saw the takedown.

“I didn't know who he was,” he said of Blake. “I did see that they had him in cuffs. I heard him say, ‘I got my US Open Badge!"

Sanders said the officers were rough with Blake even after dragging him to his feet.

“They had his face against the window,” he said. “He was shaken up. He was scared to death."

A high-ranking NYPD source who specializes in training cops said what troubles him most is that the officer who arrested and cuffed Blake never apologized.

"If a police officer makes a mistake, then he should apologize," the source said. “That is covered in the training, whether you take down the person or not. When you're wrong, you apologize and that's basic. That’s police work 101.”

ON A MOBILE DEVICE? WATCH THE VIDEO HERE.

With Thomas Tracy

rblidner@nydailynews.com

James Blake, seen here during his match against Marcel Granollers at the 2012 U.S. Open, calls the incident 'definitely scary and definitely crazy.' - Theodore Parisienne/for New York Daily News: The Grand Hyatt Hotel, where James Blake was tackled, at 109 E. 42nd St. in Manhattan.Theodore Parisienne/for New York Daily News © Provided by New York Daily News The Grand Hyatt Hotel, where James Blake was tackled, at 109 E. 42nd St. in Manhattan.
Theodore Parisienne/for New York Daily News
AdChoices
AdChoices

More from New York Daily News

New York Daily News
New York Daily News
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon