Blake suffers unforced error

James Blake was detained in connection with a probe into fraudulently purchased cell phones.
James Blake was detained in connection with a probe into fraudulently purchased cell phones.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

NEW YORK • Former American tennis player James Blake was slammed to the ground, handcuffed and detained for about 15 minutes in New York City on Wednesday before police realised that they had the wrong man in an identity theft ring.

The incident occurred as Blake, formerly the world No. 4, was waiting for a car outside a Midtown Manhattan hotel to take him to the US Open, reported New York's Daily News.

Blake said that, after being shoved to the sidewalk, he was detained by five white plainclothes city police officers. But the New York native, who is black, stopped short of calling it racial profiling.

"I don't know if it's as simple as that," the 35-year-old told the Daily News. "To me it's as simple as unnecessary police force, no matter what my race is.

"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."

Police said Blake had been mistakenly identified by "a cooperating witness" as being involved in a ring dealing in fraudulently purchased cell phones.

They added that allegations of excessive force would be investigated by internal affairs.

Blake suffered a cut to his left elbow and bruises to his left leg.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 11, 2015, with the headline 'Blake suffers unforced error'. Print Edition | Subscribe