Former professional tennis player James Blake has been mistakenly detained in New York as he waited for a car to take him to the US Open.
James Blake, 35, told the New York Daily News that a group of five plainclothes officers slammed him to the ground and held him for 15 minutes on September 9.
The NYPD said in a statement that the officers mistakenly believed James Blake was a suspect in a theft case.
Once it was determined that James Blake was not the suspect, he was released.
James Blake said he suffered a cut on his arm and bruises on his legs. He said the officers did not speak to him before they pushed him to the ground.
“You’d think they could say: <<Hey, we want to talk to you. We are looking in to something>>,” James Blake told the Daily News.
“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.”
Once No 4 player in the world, James Blake was set to make an appearance at the US Open for the Time-Warner Cable company.
James Blake retired following his US Open exit in 2013 after winning 10 singles titles in a career in which he also became No 1 US player.
Police said a “cooperating witness” mistakenly identified James Blake as being involved in “a ring dealing in fraudulently purchased cell phones”.
James Blake, who is black, said race may have contributed to the incident. All of the officers were white.
However, the former tennis star said his primary concern was with the amount of force used.
“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,” James Blake told the Daily News.
The NYPD said it was investigating whether the officers used excessive force.
The department has recently been involved in a number of high-profile cases involving accusations of police brutality.