Why Good Cops Must Speak Out About ‘Bad Apples’

Former tennis pro James Blake makes a case for transparency in police departments.


What is the "blue wall of silence"? It's a term for when the police department says either nothing wrong or nothing at all about the discrepancies of a fellow police officer. If taken to extreme lengths, this silence allows police officers the ability to do pretty much do whatever they want providing that there isn't evidence to the contrary. In tennis professional James Blake's case, a few years ago, just before a U.S. Open media day, he was tackled outside of a Manhattan hotel by a police officer in a case of alleged mistaken identity. Four other police officers stood by the arresting officer and maintained that Blake had been in custody no more than a couple of minutes. They hadn't counted on security footage from the hotel that proved that James Blake had been in custody for nearly 15 minutes—even after showing them evidence of his identity with his U.S. Open credentials. With so many cases of police brutality in the news, it's easy to see why James' case is relevant. Should police stand up for themselves or the truth? James Blake is the author of Ways of Grace: Stories of Activism, Adversity, and How Sports Can Bring Us Together.