James Blake is a fabulously wealthy (net worth: $8 million) former star tennis player who attended Harvard and has been known far and wide as one of the finest, most decent gentleman to play the game. Yet, a few days ago, to a NYPD officer he was just another “perp” who was guilty before he’d done anything, just another “scumbag” on this overly-aggressive cop’s radar in a case of “mistaken identity.” So the cop used excessive violence to “take down” another “scumbag.” Except one thing: James Blake is nothing of the sort, had done nothing wrong, and furthermore offered zero resistance.
We must ask ourselves a simple question: Is that what we citizens of this country are today, guilty until proven innocent to our police and at any moment can be subjected to violently excessive force? The cop was going after suspects for credit card fraud, hardly a crime of violence where such violent force is required to apprehend the perp. Furthermore, this cop, in plain clothes and not in uniform, bum-rushed and violently tackled Blake, who had done nothing wrong and offered zero resistance.
Take race out of this for a second, and this still rankles me as a citizen to see our police treat citizens with such disrespectful contempt. There was no need to tackle Blake had he been guilty! The fact he was an innocent victim makes this incident even more of an outrage.
Had this been done to some regular guy and not a well-known celebrity like Mr. Blake, we’d never know about it. He would just be another innocent citizen of this country violently treated by an overly-aggressive cop overstepping his mandate to “protect and serve.” The NYPD must fire this police officer to send a message to its rank and file: you need to treat your fellow citizens like fellow citizens. You are not judge and jury. Moreover, simple common sense says that this kind of force isn’t necessary for a crime like credit card fraud to apprehend a suspect you are pursuing, especially if they don’t seem to be the least bit resistant, as was the case with Mr. Blake in this video.