Police Abuse

NYPD Undercover Cop Wrongfully Arrests Former Tennis Pro James Blake During Identity Theft Sting

Police commissioner will apologize, insists cops had "probable cause" and race didn't play a factor.



Undercover cops in midtown Manhattan arrested former tennis pro James Blake after two witnesses, identified Blake, who was standing outside a hotel, as the alleged scammer in the police identity theft sting. New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton insists race played no role in the arrest and that Blake fit the description of the suspect. The head of detectives said the suspect and Blake looked like "twins." Nevertheless, Bratton said he and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio would be apologizing. 

Blake called the issue "as simple as unnecessary police force, no matter what my race is." The arrest, which was caught on video that has not been released, was described by Bratton as a "fast approach," where cops walk up to an unsuspecting suspect, grab him by the arms, and throw him to the ground to arrest him. It's unclear what the NYPD will be investigating. Fox News reports

Bratton said he watched a video of the incident. He said he supports the decision to put the unidentified officer on modified assignment during the course of the internal affairs investigation. The officer will have to turn over his badge and gun.  

Part of the investigation will focus on the use of force employed during the incident and when exactly the undercover officer identified himself during the takedown. The officer has not been interviewed by police, which is common during these investigations. 

"I did not see anything I would describe as resisting [arrest]," Bratton said, during the 20-minute press conference at police headquarters in lower Manhattan. 

Bratton insists the officer had "probable cause" based on the description of the suspect and two witness identifications of Blake. It suggests the investigation, at best, will be about whether procedures were followed in the use of the "fast approach," or slamming a suspect to the ground to arrest him.

NEXT: Rep. Jared Polis Thinks Colleges Should Be Able to Expel Students When They're Only 20% Sure a Rape Happened

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  1. Holy shit. They condone something like this “fast arrest” described here? No prior warning you’re dealing with police? What if Blake had defended himself from this unknown attacker? He’d be dead right now. Idiocy.

    1. Yup. 5 guys come at me like that and I’m pulling my piece on them.

      1. Yeah. Well, not in NYC. And sorry, fast approach I guess they’re calling it.

        On another note, if this identity theft suspect truly is the twin of Blake, he’s missing a golden opportunity. He should be stealing Blake’s identity. He could be getting so much ass like that dude who pretended to be Roethlisberger to get laid several years ago. Plus that guy supposedly looked nothing like Roethlisberger and neither of them are butt ugly next to the very handsome (I ADMIT IT) tennis player in question.

        1. Sorry, both of them are butt ugly compared… Fuck it, you get the idea.

        2. Yeah. Well, not in NYC. And sorry, fast approach I guess they’re calling it.

          This is why I stay out of the north! That and the winters would literally kill me.

          1. And no gator wrasslin’

            1. Well they don’t wrassle themselves.

              1. I like when you all rassle ’em into the shape of a handbag for my wife.

                  1. Everybody’s happy!!!!

        3. I knew a guy in college who once got laid at a party because a girl came up to him and assumed he was Kirko Bangz (who for those who don’t know is a moderately famous rapper). He just went with it and got lucky.

          1. Niccccceeee. Also he raped her through fraud…nicccceeee.

            1. I’m actually curious how those laws work. I know that if you sneak into a woman’s dark room pretending to be her boyfriend it obviously counts, but if someone thinks you’re a famous person and you don’t deny it would that be illegal? IIRC I think he actually might have denied it at first but she thought he was just trying to avoid attention so he eventually relented. It’s been a while since I heard the story so I don’t recall the exact details.

              1. It was a rape joke not a hypothetical legal question!!!

                1. I’m actually curious haha

  2. Maybe don’t assault people. Maybe say “I’m officer Dickface, would you please come with me?” I know, war of cops, thin blue line, yara yada.

    1. war of cops

      If only

  3. a “fast approach,” where cops walk up to an unsuspecting suspect, grab him by the arms, and throw him to the ground to arrest him

    Offizier Sicherheit ?ber alles

  4. “New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton insists race played no role in the arrest and that Blake fit the description of the suspect. The head of detectives said the suspect and Blake looked like “twins.”

    What, they were both black?

    It’s a good thing the suspect wasn’t “some kind of Asian”.

    1. They were speaking some kind of language, I think it was Asian!

      1. Classic.

      2. “They speak that language – foreign.” – Butthead

    2. Race may not have been a factor in the arrest but likely in the way the arrest was perpetrated. Unfortunately, this misunderstanding/misdirection gives Bratton and the NYPD the chance to play the indignant victims.

      1. Those tennis players all look the same.

        1. + nice

  5. In fairness to the cops, how could they possibly know Blake (or anyone for that matter) played tennis professionally?

    1. So you’re saying that you don’t know that she plays tennis professionally?

      I feel sorry for you, Hugh. You know, more than usual.

      1. Sorry Epi, I don’t watch Bravo. I assume that’s where pro tennis is televised, if anywhere.

        1. It’s on Lifetime, Hugh. Jesus, do I have to explain everything?

        2. It’s not the Hallmark Channel? There’s a Hallmark Channel, right?

    2. “how could they possibly know Blake (or anyone for that matter) played tennis professionally?”

      By his backhand.

  6. The head of detectives said the suspect and Blake looked like “twins.

    I can’t wait for the side by side photo comparison. Short fat white women, next to Blake.

    1. +1 Christopher Dorner’s truck

  7. “Blake called the issue “as simple as unnecessary police force, no matter what my race is.””

    There we go.

    I bet they’d have done the same if they were looking for a white suspect.

    Apparently this was a credit-card fraud investigation.

    And I suppose a credit-card fraudster is so dangerous that you can’t have a uniformed cop or cops come up to him and demand that he submit to arrest?

    No, you have to send someone in “civilian” clothing to grab the suspect and “thwow him to the fwoor.”

    You know, there are some people who, attacked by a guy in “civilian” clothes, would get the impression that they were in mortal danger from a [non-governmental] criminal.

    But if the victim responded like he was being attacked by a [non-governmental] criminal, then they’d kill him, and Bratton would be defending his brave officer.

    And the incident would be cited in illustration of how dangerous a cop’s job is.

    You know, maybe, to the extent the job is dangerous, it’s because cops do dangerous shit like this.

    1. They very well may have, it wouldn’t surprise me. But the NYPD doesn’t exactly have much credibility in claiming to treat people of different races equally given stop-and-frisk.

    2. Exactly. If 5 uniformed officers charged me, I’d put my hands as far in the air as they would go. 5 plain clothes officer charge me, I’m getting ready for a fight.

    3. Seriously. It’s insane that they think it’s OK to use force like that ever unless it is in response to a suspect violently resisting arrest or really good evidence that he is a serious threat.

      1. Dude, they go into the job specifically to be able to do shit like this. It’s a job perk. There’s a reason we’re going “who could possibly think this is appropriate?” while they do it as a matter of course.

        1. Oops. Close tag failure.

          1. Well, it kinda works anyway

    4. You have to wonder about police procedures where committing assault and battery on a suspect in a non-violent crime is the first resort according to proper procedure

  8. Hey, don’t soft-pedal this. A tennis racket is a lethal weapon.

    1. And with that US Open credential, he probably could have gotten his hands on one in 20-30 minutes.

      1. New York has a waiting period for tennis rackets. 10 days. 12 if you’re buying a Babolat.

  9. I had a friend in college, whose chance at a tennis scholarship was more or less hosed by a log he was carrying (with a retarded other friend) which rolled the wrong way and pulled his shoulder out of socket. I have not seen the video in question, but I am always aggravated the way the police throw people to the ground in the normal course of doing business. It’s all fun and games until someone loses their livelihood.

  10. And I bet the prompt apology can be attributed to the fact that the guy is a tennis pro.

    Imagine this happening to a deli clerk.

    For one thing, the clerk might not want to attention to the incident, for fear his boss would think he’s a criminal and fire him.

    For another thing, I bet the cops would be shrugging it off if the victim was a mere plebe.

    1. Had this not happened to a tennis pro (who could talk to ESPN and other networks about it), no apology would have been forthcoming, and the officer involved would not have been put on modified duty. That much is obvious.

    1. M’playa

    2. Reason should just post a commentariat appreciation thread and let us do as we please in it.

      1. I immediately imagined the stickiest room in the world.

      2. I want to be able to post flashing text.

      3. Isn’t this already every thread?

    3. You sayin’ Ed’s a Playa Hater?

      1. He just hates when he gets sand in his food.

        1. Life’s a beach…

          1. Some people find this offensive and have complained so I’m going to need you to remove it from your desk.

  11. There’s no sugarcoating it – some people have wondered if there weren’t another way for the NYPD to handle this matter.

  12. “…whether procedures were followed in the use of the “fast approach,” or slamming a suspect to the ground to arrest him.”

    Felonious assault is part of police procedure?

    Don’t even respond to this. It is a rhetorical question.

  13. It also “suggests” (as we all already know, but that cops seem to be slow to catch onto) i sthat eye witness identification and testimony is horseshit and useless.

  14. “He’s black?”

    “Maybe he’s… mixed.”

    “Should we be having this conversation?”

    1. What does he identify as?

      1. “Asian. Just to mess with ’em!”

  15. HEY
    Where’s my hat tip?

  16. Identified by two witnesses = probable cause.

    Violent arrest of a suspect with no history of violence by plainclothes cops = unjustified use of force, should result in damages to the suspect (at a minimum), even if the suspect is guilty.

  17. Power corrupts, and the police unions attract people who like power. The more laws on the books, the more enforcers required, which gives the enforcers more and more political power because there are more and more of them.

  18. “We’re sorry, Mr. Blake – we were looking for a Mr. Blake James” said police spokesman Lt. John Elton.

    1. What was done, was seen…

  19. Once again, nobody should give a damn whether or not “procedures were followed”, the Constitution and the laws of the United States and the laws of the State of New York and the City of New York all trump ‘procedures’ because ‘procedures’ are not the law. Your ‘procedures’ may call for committing assault and battery but the law still says it’s illegal. (We all know nobody’s going to get charged with assault and battery but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s a crime.) And still you wonder why there’s this ‘war on cops’. There’s no war on cops, the cops have been fighting a war on the general public for years and some of them are finally starting to fight back.

    1. Sadly you are mistaken. All crimes are crimes against the state, so as agents of the state, the police by definition cannot commit crimes. Well, unless they commit crimes against other cops or government officials. So as long as they follow procedures, then they are completely immunized from any criminal liability. If they deviate from procedures, or otherwise act outside their role as agents of the state, then and only then does there exist a possibility that they could be held criminally accountable for their actions. But as long as they lie and claim that they were acting in good faith, nothing else will happen. Life’s a bitch. Get used to it.

  20. This one just keeps getting better. NYTimes is reporting that the cops were relying on Instagram photo of someone they believed to be involved in credit card fraud, but it turns out the person in the photo also had nothing to do with the fraud.


    1. “Hey, does this tiny cell phone pic of a guy who had nothing to do with fraud look like that guy over there?”

      “Yeah, I guess”

      “GET HIM!”

      All by the book.

    2. The bungled arrest arose out of an investigation into 16 fraudulent American Express credit card transactions, totaling about $18,000, that the police learned about on Monday from an Internet company that buys and delivers property for people in Manhattan. The police asked the company to let them supervise a delivery if the suspects made another purchase, said Robert K. Boyce, the chief of detectives, as they did the next day.

      A delivery of high-end designer shoes was arranged for Wednesday, at the Hyatt’s concierge desk. One of the buyers, a British man, James Short, 27, who was in New York on a student visa, met the courier and was immediately arrested. The courier then pointed to Mr. Blake from eight feet away, Chief Boyce said, identifying the tennis star as someone who had also bought items using false credit card information.

      WHAT WOULD BE THE ODDS of such a fantastic coincidence that someone who’d previously bought goods w a fraudulent instrument would happen to be there at the same time??!

      Not only that, but considering that many of the people roped into taking deliveries for forged instrument operatives are na?ve “mules”, even if you believed in “police station justice”, why would you deliver a beating to such a person?

    3. So it was actually only one witness.

  21. I actually do wonder if procedures were followed.

    Were any of the cops yelling “STOP RESISTING” while the perp was lying limp on the ground?

  22. police were notified on Monday about Internet credit card thefts. Detectives set up a controlled delivery at the hotel and spotted Blake, who bears a “remarkable” likeness to one of the subjects provided to police in the investigation.

    How is that supposed to work? Wouldn’t you demand to see the goods, rather than simply taking down someone who comes to that general area who looks like the person you’d set up? Otherwise what’s the point of the sting? (Or the sting of the point?) Why bother to set him up, if you’re not sure he’ll have the evidence on him? You might as well simply arrest him when you 1st see him rather than setting him up, in that case.

  23. lol punk cops. Off with their heads.


  24. If the cops keep this shit up, they’re going to end up with the war they’ve been screaming about on Fox Noise.

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