Retired American tennis star James Blake was just standing on the curb, waiting for a car that would take him to the U.S. Open. Before his ride arrived, someone tackled him from behind.
It turned out to be an undercover cop. Blake never would have guessed.
"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 told the New York Daily News.
According to Blake, the cop rolled him over and told the ex-tennis star, "Don't say a word." Five officers were involved in the takedown, which was executed flawlessly except for one small detail.
They had tackled the wrong guy.
Yes, Blake was on the receiving end of a bad case of mistaken identity. The Daily News reports that a former cop alerted the arresting officers to Blake's real identity: That of former world tennis star.
"It was definitely scary and definitely crazy," said Blake, who suffered a cut to his left elbow and bruises on his legs, along with apparent swelling around his eye. Blake told the newspaper that the officers did not identify themselves as police right away, which added to the terror of the experience.
The cops eventually released Blake and arrested a man who had been standing nearby. That individual was allegedly involved in a scam involving a cellphone and a bogus credit card.
Blake was happy to have the situation resolved, but hours later at the U.S. Open he was still upset that the experience had to be so violent and unnecessary.
"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 said. "I was just standing there. I wasn't running. It's not even close [to being OK]. It's blatantly unnecessary [to tackle in that situation]."
Blake ultimately felt the officers failed to uphold their "protect and serve" creed. Said Blake: "I didn't feel very safe."