00:52 - Source: CNN
Former tennis star mistakenly arrested by NYPD

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James Blake says he was handcuffed by NYPD outside of his NYC hotel

Police say Blake was misidentified by a cooperating witness

CNN —  

It wasn’t the greeting former tennis player James Blake is used to getting in New York during the U.S. Open.

The former tennis star and tournament darling says as many as five plainclothes police officers tackled and handcuffed him outside his Manhattan hotel Wednesday, according to the New York Daily News.

Blake was waiting for a car to pick him up and take him to the tennis tournament where he’s doing corporate appearances, the paper said in an exclusive article.

According to the New York Police Department, Blake was detained during an ongoing investigation after he was misidentified by a cooperating witness.

Detectives from the Identity Theft Task Force were investigating the purchase of cell phones using fraudulent credit cards, two law enforcement sources told CNN.

Investigators organized a sting operation at the Hyatt Hotel, where phones were delivered to a male suspect who was later taken into custody, the law enforcement sources said.

That individual identified two people in the lobby of the Hyatt to whom he had delivered cell phones that were purchased with a fraudulent credit card, they added.

Blake was one of the people placed in handcuffs but was let go shortly after a retired member of the NYPD informed detectives that he was a tennis player.

“Once Blake was properly identified and found to have no connection to the investigation, he was released from police custody immediately,” the NYPD said in a statement.

The second individual, who was not with Blake, was taken into custody, the sources added.

‘I was just standing there’

According to the New York Daily News article, Blake suffered a cut to his left elbow and bruises to his left leg.

Blake told CNN affiliate WABC later in the day that everything in the New York Daily News report is true.

While Blake stopped short of out-and-out alleging racial misconduct, “There’s no reason for anybody to do that to anybody,” he told the New York Daily News. “I was just standing there. I wasn’t running. It’s not even close (to be okay). It’s blatantly unnecessary,” he said.

“In regards to the alleged improper use of force, the Police Commissioner directed the internal affairs bureau to investigate,” a NYPD statement said.

“It shouldn’t happen and it’s something that you know we’ll deal with, with the police, and we’ll find out what they have to say internally,” the 35-year old, who once was ranked No. 4 in the world, told WABC.

“You know hopefully there’s video of it, and people can see what happened,” he said.

Blake also posted on his Facebook page that he will speak about the incident on Thursday.

CNN’s Emily Smith contributed to this report.