James Blake’s incident with the NYPD hasn’t changed his opinion of the force as a whole, but the former tennis star said Wednesday as he prepared to run in the New York City Marathon that he would continue to push for reform.
The 35-year-old retired pro spoke candidly about last month’s incident, where he was mistaken for a suspect in a credit card fraud scheme and tackled by plainclothes Officer James Frascatore while standing outside the Grand Hyatt hotel on East 42nd Street.
“The officer who used excessive force on me isn’t indicative of the entire NYPD,” Blake said at an event in Central Park for celebrities running the marathon Sunday.
The NYPD removed the officer’s badge and gun and he faces departmental charges.
Blake said he was pleased that Frascatore is facing discipline and happy the city undertook measures such as a new law requiring officers to make a record of each use of force.
“It’s fair to have all that info out there,” he said.
Blake will meet with the mayor’s office Thursday to discuss other plans for improving police-community relations.
In the meantime, he’s gearing up for his first marathon, which he’s running for his charity, the James Blake Foundation, a supporter of early cancer research at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
Blake said he’s been training extensively near his home in San Diego, and that he’s enjoyed transitioning from tennis drills to running exercises with his coach. Other celebrity participants this year include former Giant Tiki Barber, actress Katrina Bowden, Alicia Keys, Ethan Hawke and Met Opera soprano Susanna Phillips.
Blake praised the nearly 50,000 other marathoners, especially the runners with disabilities.
“They’re much more impressive than my forearm,” he said of the runners’ determination.