Former tennis great James Blake was slammed to the ground, handcuffed and detained by five plainclothes city cops Wednesday outside his midtown hotel before heading out to the U.S. Open, Blake told the Daily News.
UPDATE: James Blake speaks to local TV station:
The officers, who were all white, mistook Blake for a suspect in an identity theft ring operating around the midtown hotel.
The incident occurred around noon in front of the Grand Hyatt on East 42 St., as Blake, a 35-year-old African-American who attended Harvard before going on tour, was waiting for a car to take him to Flushing Meadows, where he was making corporate appearances for Time-Warner Cable.
"It was definitely scary and definitely crazy," said Blake, who was once ranked No. 4 in the world and was among the most popular U.S. players of his generation. He suffered a cut to his left elbow and bruises to his left leg.
Blake said several other officers rushed up to join the first officer, eventually five cops in all surrounding him. He said he was told he had been identified by two people as someone who had been involved in an identity-theft ring operating in the area for the last week.
After being handcuffed for about 15 minutes, Blake said the last of the five officers realized they had the wrong person and apologized. The first officer who tackled and cuffed him never said anything.