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Monday 22 January 2018

Ex-tennis professional James Blake demands apology following arrest

James Blake retired from tennis after competing at the 2013 US Open (AP)
James Blake retired from tennis after competing at the 2013 US Open (AP)

Former tennis professional James Blake says he wants an apology from New York City police after he was mistakenly arrested.

Mr Blake appeared on US breakfast television to say that everyone should be held accountable for their actions, including the police.

He said he was standing outside Manhattan's Grand Hyatt New York hotel on Wednesday waiting to go to the US Open when he looked up from his mobile phone and saw a police officer charging him. He said he was body-slammed and handcuffed.

He told officers to check his identification, and he was released. Mr Blake said the officer never identified himself.

The officer has been stripped of his gun and badge. Police are investigating.

Police Commissioner William Bratton said the man police were searching for looked like "the twin brother of Mr Blake".

A co-operating witness had misidentified Mr Blake to detectives investigating fraudulently purchased mobile phones, said Stephen Davis, spokesman for the New York Police Department.

"Once Blake was properly identified and found to have no connection to the investigation, he was released from police custody immediately," Mr Davis said in a statement.

But Mr Blake said the force's actions were not acceptable.

"I was standing there doing nothing - not running, not resisting, in fact, smiling," he said.

Mr Blake's last tournament as a professional was the 2013 US Open, where he lost in the first round of singles and doubles.

He was ranked as high as number 4 in the world and reached three Grand Slam quarter-finals, including at the US Open in 2005 and 2006.

Press Association

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