James Blake, a former American professional tennis player, had just finished an interview with a tennis magazine and was texting on the curb in front of the Grand Hyatt hotel in Manhattan when five white plainclothes officers "slammed (him) to the ground," the New York Daily News reported, and then proceeded to handcuff and detain him after mistaking him for an identity theft suspect. Blake, who is black, had committed no crime.
From Blake's retelling of the event, it seemed as if Blake had done nothing to provoke the officers:
"You'd think they could say, 'Hey, we want to talk to you. We are looking into something. I was just standing there. I wasn't running. It's not even close (to be okay). It's blatantly unnecessary. You would think at some point they would get the memo that this isn't okay, but it seems that there's no stopping it."
Blake refrained from explicitly labeling the incident as an example of racial profiling, though did say in his mind there was some racial component to their actions:
Asked if he considered it a case of racial profiling, Blake said, "I don't know if it's as simple as that. 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.
After 15 minutes, one of the officers "realized they had the wrong person and apologized." The officer who tackled Blake said nothing.
Michael Rosen is a reporter for Fusion based out of Oakland.