Retired tennis star James Blake thought he was being greeted by a fan … that was until he was tackled to the ground and handcuffed.
Blake says he was standing in front of the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York on Wednesday, preparing to head to the U.S. Open. When a plain-clothes police officer slammed him to the ground and handcuffed him.
The retired tennis pro tells the Daily News that he was completely taken off guard by what he later learned was a case of mistaken identity. “Maybe I’m naïve, but I just assumed it was someone I went to high school with or something who was running at me to give me a big hug, so I smiled at the guy.”
Blake claims no one gave him any reason as to why he was face down on the concrete. “Don’t say a word,” the NYPD officer allegedly stated. But when Blake pressed the cops for answers, he says they told him, “We’ll tell you. You are in safe hands.”
It was 15 minutes before a retired cop recognized James and alerted the arresting officers to their mistake. Apparently they were looking for someone in connection to a credit card fraud investigation … that man was standing near Blake and was later arrested.
Because Blake is African American, many have speculated that this incident is further proof of racial profiling. But James thinks it’s more complicated than that. “I don’t know if it’s as simple as that. To me it’s as simple as unnecessary police force, no matter what my race is. In my mind there’s probably a race factor involved, but no matter what there’s no reason for anybody to do that to anybody,” he stated.
Blake also stopped Good Morning America on Thursday to shed more light on this injustice. You can watch the full interview here.
The officer who slammed James to the ground has been placed on a modified assignment. Blake, who suffered cuts and bruises from the ordeal, has pledged to continue to use his voice to bring awareness to this situation and others like it.
Watch: Julia Roberts And Owen Wilson Give Advice To Their 10-Year-Old Selves
To say Wonder is a must see movie is an understatement! Not only will the film touch you and inspire you to be a better person, it will also entertain you from start to finish.
But don’t take our word for it. HipHollywood sat down with the film’s stars Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson who shared their excitement to bring this heartwarming story to life and how they channeled their real-life parenting skills into the role.
“I think we felt a responsibility to be authentically parents and authentically parents to these two kids, said the 50 year old mother of three. “And I think that’s why you really believe these four people are family and are really having this experience together.”
In the film based on the NY times best seller, Roberts and Wilson play the parents of a teenage daughter (Izabela Vidovic) and 10-year-old boy (Jacob Tremblay) with facial differences entering mainstream elementary school for the first time.
When asked if they had any advice for their ten year old selves, Roberts said: “I have a ten year old son and I tell him to run.”
Meanwhile Wilson says he remembers 5th grade vividly, and enjoyed having his brother Andrew Wilson at the same school to protect him. “It helped so much having an older brother who was already at the school, so that would be the advice I’d give, have a cool older brother.”
Wonder hits theaters November 17, just one day before Wilson’s 49th birthday.
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