-- In a case of extreme mistaken identity, former tennis star James Blake was tackled and handcuffed by New York City police officers Wednesday outside of his hotel in midtown Manhattan.
Blake, who was on his way to the US Open to fulfill corporate responsibilities, told the New York Daily News that five white, plain-clothes officers mistook him for someone they believed to be involved in an identity theft ring.
He suffered a cut to his elbow and a bruise to his leg and said he was most upset with the force used by the officers in apprehending him.
"You'd think they could say, 'Hey, we want to talk to you. We are looking in to something.' I was just standing there. I wasn't running," Blake told the newspaper. "It's not even close [to being OK]. It's blatantly unnecessary. You would think at some point they would get the memo that this isn't OK, but it seems that there's no stopping it."
Blake, who is African-American, said he thinks race might have played a factor in the incident but that his biggest concern was the amount of force used.
"I don't know if it's as simple as [race]. To me it's as simple as unnecessary police force, no matter what my race is," Blake said. "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."
The 35-year-old ex-tennis player said he was detained for 15 minutes before one of the five officers realized he was not their suspect and apologized, but he said he did not receive an apology from the officer who tackled him. Blake said he would like an apology from the NYPD and hopes the officer who did tackle him will face some form of punishment.
"Today James Blake was detained by police in midtown Manhattan in regards to an ongoing investigation into fraudulently purchased cell phones, after being misidentified by a cooperating witness," police said in a statement Wednesday afternoon. "Once Blake was properly identified and found to have no connection to the investigation, he was released from police custody immediately. In regards to the alleged improper use of force, the Police Commissioner directed the internal affairs bureau to investigate."
Blake, who was once ranked as high as No. 4 in the world, said he worries about how commonplace situations like this might be.
"I have resources to get to the bottom of this. I have a voice," Blake said. "But what about someone who doesn't have those resources and doesn't have a voice?
"The real problem is that I was tackled for no reason and that happens to a lot of people who don't have a media outlet to voice that to."
Blake declined comment to ESPN.com, but his brother Thomas said James might again address the situation publicly in a few days.