Target: William J. Bratton, police commissioner of the City of New York
Goal: Apologize or explain the use of excessive force on former tennis star James Blake, who was wrongly tackled to the ground after being mistaken for a suspect, and change the way force is used.
Former tennis star and 10-singles-title holder James Blake said he was “slammed to the ground, handcuffed and detained” by five plainclothes NYPD officers hours before attending the U.S. Open recently. The officers thought Blake was a suspect in an identity theft scam that operated around the Midtown Manhattan hotel.
The Identity Theft Task Force planned to catch suspects of the crime at the Grand Hyatt hotel. Blake was staying at the Grand Hyatt for the U.S. Open. After being handcuffed for 15 minutes, a retired member of the NYPD informed detectives of Blake’s identity, and he was released when they realized they had the wrong person.
One of the officers involved has been placed on modified duty while the department’s Internal Affairs bureau investigates. Blake said he’s not sure if it was racially motivated, but says regardless of race no one should be handled with such excessive force. Blake is asking for an apology and an explanation as to why such force needed to be used.
Tell the NYPD to apologize and explain this excessive use of force on the (mistaken) suspect of a nonviolent crime and to change how they decide on using such force in these situations.
Dear Commissioner Bratton,
Plainclothes officers slammed former tennis star James Blake to the ground after mistaking him for a suspect in a nonviolent crime. Luckily someone recognized Blake and he was released after 15 minutes, but this incident was a complete fiasco.
As Blake said, regardless of race no one should be handled with such excessive force as being tackled to the ground by five officers who aren’t even dressed in uniform. I think it’s safe to say anyone would have been completely freaked out by this incident, and something like this should not be happening.
I urge you to apologize and explain this excessive use of force on the (mistaken) suspect of a nonviolent crime and to change how you decide on using such force in these situations.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: José Goulão