New York Police Department Commissioner Bill Bratton issued an apology to James Blake after an officer body-slammed and detained the retired tennis star outside of his hotel Wednesday afternoon. Blake is African-American, and the officer, who is white, was taken off active duty and put on modified administrative duty.
Bratton said Thursday he wanted “to extend a personal apology’’ to Blake concerning the incident. He also said that both he and the New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio made repeated attempts to contact Blake in order to officially apologize and have not been able to reach him.
"What he described is not what we do, it's not what we're supposed to do. We will very aggressively address it, and I will not tolerate any excessive use of force on the part of my police," said Bratton in an interview with local news network NY1 Thursday.
NYPD Commissioner makes public apology to James Blake, says offending officer is now on administrative duties, his gun and badge removed
— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) September 10, 2015
The incident occurred Wednesday afternoon when Blake was waiting outside his hotel to be shuttled to the U.S. Open. Blake said the officer tackled him, slamming him to the ground and handcuffing him without saying why he was being detained. The former tennis star also told ABC News that the plainclothes officer never identified himself as a policeman.
Blake was eventually released when the officer realized his mistake, and he told journalists that he wanted an apology from both the New York Police Department and the officer who detained him.
Blake, who suffered minor cuts and bruises during the assault, said at first he did not want to discuss the event with the media and was persuaded to do so by his wife. "[If] someone tackled her in broad daylight, paraded her around [on] a busy, crowded sidewalk in New York City with handcuffs, with her cuffed behind her back and taking away her dignity...I just I couldn't accept that," he said in part.