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Behind a call for greater police accountability following his arrest in a case of mistaken identity, retired tennis star James Blake emerged hopeful and full of praise for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio after an hour-long meeting on Monday, reports The New York Times.

“What he said that made me feel good was that in his heart he was on the same page as us,” including crime reduction and instituting stronger accountability for officers, Blake said at a news conference outside City Hall.

Via The Times:

Mr. Blake said he still thought often about being dragged to the ground by a plainclothes officer who mistook him for a suspect on a Midtown Manhattan sidewalk on Sept. 9. But, referring to Mr. de Blasio, Mr. Blake said he was heartened by “the fact that he can look me in the eye and tell me that he is on our side, and that he is looking to make a long-lasting impact.”

The meeting was a sign of how Mr. Blake’s star power and the rough treatment he faced have given him unusual clout amid a national reckoning with police misconduct. The arrest prompted swift apologies from Mr. de Blasio and Mr. Bratton, and drew renewed attention to the aggressive arrest tactics that many black New Yorkers say they face frequently, with little hope of winning an audience with the mayor.

Blake, who was in New York City earlier this month to attend the US Open, was standing outside of his 42nd Street hotel when he was tackled by plainclothes officer James Frascatore. Frascatore believed Blake was a suspect in a major credit card fraud ring, but he was wrong. The incident reignited debate about police violence in communities of color.

“This afternoon, we had a productive conversation with Mr. Blake about strengthening the relationship between police and communities across our city,” Mr. de Blasio and Mr. Bratton said in a statement on Monday night. “It was based on a shared commitment to accountability and a desire to build trust. We pledged a fair and expeditious investigation into his case, and to find further common ground as we continue the work of reform.”

Do you think the meeting will result in meaningful and lasting reform?



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