James Blake, famed for his tennis career, is now getting attention after hotel surveillance footage revealed a police officer who abruptly grabbed James and pushed him to the ground. Blake was then handcuffed and led off in the footage, reported Fox News.
The gone-viral situation occurred when James was outside of the Grand Hyatt New York in Manhattan. A plainclothes officer identified as James Frascatore then came up to Blake, taking hold of his arm. He is seen in the footage as being tackled to the ground, where James stayed down as he was cuffed.
Blake then was guided back to his feet and taken off.
In discussing what happened, Police Commissioner William Bratton said the officer had thought James was an identity theft suspect. Bratton described that suspect as looking like Blake’s doppelganger, and he has issued an apology to the tennis star.
In addition, the police internal affairs interviewed James, according to police spokesman Stephen Davis. The representative also said that Blake’s lawyer had a copy.
The plainclothes officer has now been moved to desk duty while the situation is evaluated.
In addition to Bratton’s apology, Blake received an apology from Mayor Bill de Blasio, reported ESPN.
But James feels that these expressions of regret, which he feels were issued because he is famous, were insufficient.
“Extending courtesy to a public figure mistreated by the police is not enough,” said Blake as the footage of his mistaken identity continued to go viral.
“As I told the Commissioner, I am determined to use my voice to turn this unfortunate incident into a catalyst for change in the relationship between the police and the public they serve. For that reason, I am calling upon the City of New York to make a significant financial commitment to improving that relationship, particularly in those neighborhoods where incidents of the type I experienced occur all too frequently.”
As a result of that request from the former tennis star, James said the Commissioner will meet with him and others.
The arrest occurred when Blake was inaccurately identified as a culprit in a fraudulent credit card scheme. He had been standing outside of the hotel that had been exploited for deliveries, according to police.
However, Bratton admitted that the video footage showing the arrest had resulted in a probe by internal affairs detectives.
Both he and the mayor repeated their apology, emphasizing their goal of creating trust between the police and those they serve.
“This Administration takes the mission of bringing the police and the community closer together very seriously,” said a statement.
But James pointed out that he feels the officer who tackled him failed in several ways, including giving his rights, getting Blake’s name, or revealing that he was a police officer.
“[He did not] in any way afford me the dignity and respect due every person who walks the streets of this country,” said Blake.
As a result, the tennis star wants the officer fired, reported Yahoo News.
“He shouldn’t have a badge because in my opinion what he’s doing is tarnishing that badge.”
Others have said that same police officer was guilty of excessive force.
“I think there needs to be a public apology to all of them, all of those people who don’t have the same stature I have,” added Blake.
But above all, James wants that officer fired.
“I don’t think this person should ever have a badge or a gun again,” emphasized Blake. “I don’t think it’s too much to ask.”
[Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images]