- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 10, 2015

New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton insisted Thursday that race did not play a role in the accidental arrest of former tennis star James Blake, who was mistaken for a cellphone thief and detained for several minutes Wednesday as he was on his way to the U.S. Open.

The one-time No. 4 player in the world said he was slammed to the ground, handcuffed and detained by five white plainclothes police officers outside the Grand Hyatt on East 42nd Street in Manhattan.

Mr. Blake, who is black, suggested Wednesday that his race was “probably” a factor in the officers’ use of force. Mr. Bratton, however, said it was simply a matter of mistaken identity.

“Sorry, race has nothing at all to do with this. If you look at the photograph of the suspect it looks like the twin brother of Mr. Blake,” the commissioner said on CNN, the New York Post reported.

“So let’s put that nonsense to rest right now, race has nothing to do with this. We have a witness who identified Mr. Blake as an individual who he had sold a phone to and had been given a false credit card,” he said.

Mr. Blake said he was handcuffed for about 15 minutes before one of the five officers realized he had the wrong person and apologized, the Daily News reported. Mr. Blake reportedly suffered a cut to his left elbow and bruises to his left leg in the takedown.

Mr. Bratton defended the officers: “The officers acted on that information, the witness was there and pointed him out and turns out he was not the individual. They look so much alike.”

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