Retired tennis star James Blake was violently assaulted outside his hotel in New York City by the NYPD on Wednesday. Blake, a former top five-ranked player, is African-American and offered his take on the incident including its racial implications.
In an exclusive chat with the New York Daily News, Blake revealed his side of what occurred Sept. 8 as he waited outside of the Grand Hyatt in midtown Manhattan. Five white undercover officers allegedly tackled Blake to the ground, causing the 35-year-old Blake to suffer some cuts and bruises in the process.
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The 35-year-old Blake, once ranked No. 4 in the world, suffered a cut to his left elbow and bruises to his left leg as the law enforcement quintet handcuffed and held him for 15 minutes outside the Grand Hyatt.
“It was definitely scary and definitely crazy,” said Blake, adding that none of the men initially identified themselves as a police officer. His right eye appeared a bit red hours later at the hotel.
The cops were investigating a credit card fraud operation when they took Blake to the ground around noon.
The Harvard-educated Blake was only turned loose when a former cop recognized the man in cuffs and alerted the arresting officers, a police source said.
“That is James Blake, the tennis player,” the retiree told them. The first cop involved never apologized to Blake for the physical thumping or the brief arrest, the ex-player recounted.
Blake was en route to a corporate event at the U.S. Open and was outside waiting on a ride to the venue. Blake claims that the officers never apologized for roughing him up, and he added that there may have been a “race factor” figuring into the officers’ aggressive actions.
The NYPD issued a brief statement on the altercation. Further, the NYPD said it will be referring to its internal investigators to look into accusations that the officers did indeed physically assault Blake.