The New York Police Department has issued an apology to former tennis player James Blake, who was tackled and wrongfully arrested earlier this week outside of a Manhattan hotel.
On Wednesday, Blake, who was on his way to the U.S. Open, was standing outside of the Grand Hyatt Hotel when he was approached by a plainclothes Officer James Frascatore, who had mistaken him for a suspect wanted in connection with credit card fraud. Newly released surveillance video shows the officer walk up to Blake and violently tackle him to the ground before handcuffing him. Blake was detained for 10 minutes before the officers realized that he was the wrong man and released him. Frascatore has been placed on desk duty.
Yesterday, New York Police Commissioner William Bratton issued an apology to Blake, who is biracial, though denied that race played a factor in the wrongful arrest.
“”I spoke to Mr. Blake a short time ago and personally apologized for yesterday’s incident,” Bratton said in a statement on Thursday. “I don’t believe that race was a factor. This rush to put a race tag on it—I’m sorry—that’s not involved in this at all.”
Frascatore has been accused of using excessive force in 2013 during two separate incidents, once during a violent arrest in Queens and once while arresting a man who was bicycling on a sidewalk.
Blake appeared on Good Morning America, where he called the arrest a “blatant” use of excessive force.
“I was standing there doing nothing,” he said. “Not running, not resisting, in fact, smiling.”