NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Mayor Bill de Blasio has publicly apologized to former tennis star James Blake, who was mistakenly arrested by officers outside a Midtown hotel.
“I want to make very clear I’ve reached out to Mr. Blake, and I want to talk to him because I want to apologize to him on behalf of the city of New York,” de Blasio said in an exclusive interview with NY1.
“This shouldn’t have happened, and he shouldn’t have been treated this way,” de Blasio said. “And I think it is a reminder of why we have to continue to make reforms. We are very adamant — and (police) Commissioner (Bill) Bratton and I have spoken about this many times — that we are going to constantly improve the training of the men and women of the NYPD to focus on using only the force that’s needed in each situation.”
Earlier Thursday, Bratton said Blake was “inappropriately arrested and detained” by officers in front of the Grand Hyatt New York hotel Wednesday and that he had “no involvement in the criminal investigation” and was “totally innocent.”
Blake said he was cuffed and detained for 15 minutes, before being freed after a retired officer recognized him and told the officers to let him go.
“I didn’t know what was going on, but I was going to 100 percent cooperate with you,” Blake said. “He just put the cuffs on me and said stand up, and you know, I asked him what was going on and he said, ‘We’ll tell you soon.”
Bratton later said in a statement he spoke with Blake by phone Thursday and apologized to him. He said Blake would be returning de Blasio’s earlier call and would also meet with Internal Affairs investigators.
“Mr. Blake said he would like to meet with the Mayor and me at a future date, which we would be agreeable to,” Bratton said.
Police said members of a financial crimes task force were at the hotel investigating $18,000 in fraudulent credit card purchases from an online shopping delivery service.