Retired tennis star James Blake has become the latest victim of excessive force by police in the U.S. The former world number 4 is said to have been mistaken for a suspect in a fraud case when he was tackled to the ground outside the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York.
Blake received a cut elbow and bruising to his leg in the arrest that he is describing as being racially motivated.
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.
It's hard to disagree with him. He was tackled to the ground at speed by an undercover policeman who Blake maintains never identified himself as such and also wasn't wearing a badge. He was allegedly pinned to the concrete by a total of five plain clothed officers, all white, for 15 minutes before a retired NYPD officer was able to identify him.
That is James Blake, the tennis player.
Blake deserves enormous credit for not losing his cool; it can't have been easy. He naively thought that the man running at him might have been an old college acquaintance going for a hug. A few seconds later he had been slammed onto the concrete for no reason. Meanwhile Police Commissioner Bill Bratton has opened an invistigation while Blake still awaits an official apology from either the NYPD or the officers involved.
Whether or not the arrest was truly racially motivated is unclear but this incident will undoubtedly go down as another case of excessive force by police officers in the United States.