NYPD Police Commissioner William Bratton said last night internal affairs officers are investigating claims by retired tennis star James Blake he was roughed up and handcuffed earlier in the day by officers outside a midtown Manhattan hotel.
Blake bore a close resemblance to a suspect sought by police, according to a law enforcement source.
"We will investigate it," Bratton said in an interview on New York City cable news station NY1. "I will not tolerate any aggressive use of force," the commissioner said, though he cautioned that the initial reports might not tell the entire story.
"The first story is not always the last story," Bratton said.
Blake, who in 2007 became the first African-American since Arthur Ashe to achieve a top 10 world tennis ranking, told the New York Daily News he was outside the Grand Hyatt hotel in Manhattan when a man in shorts and a T-shirt charged him and threw him to the ground.
The officer did not identify himself as a member of the NYPD, Blake said.
"He has a right to be upset about it," Bratton said on NY1. He said Blake's allegations were "very disturbing."
"It's not what we do," Bratton said. "It's not what we are supposed to do."
NYPD officials said Blake was apprehended in a case of mistaken identity by a confidential witness involved in an undercover police investigation into cellphone fraud.
Blake, 35, was erroneously pointed out by the witness before undercover officers moved in to make the arrest, investigators said.
"It shouldn't have happened and it's something that we'll deal with the police and we'll find out what they have to say internally," Blake said outside the hotel Wednesday. "Hopefully there's video of it and people can see what happened."
When asked if the officers said anything first, he said, "No, [they] just rushed."
Blake said he would provide a statement about the incident today.
"I just want to let it go. . . ." Blake said to reporters. "I'm going to be at the Open the rest of the week."
With Alison Fox, Joan Gralla and The Associated Press