Tennis star James Blake said he suffered cuts and bruises after being pushed to the ground by five police officers in a case of mistaken identity.
The former US number one told New York Daily News he was arrested after a witness incorrectly claimed he was part of a credit card fraud ring.
He claims one officer said: "Don't say a word" before ordering him to lie facedown on the sidewalk.
Blake said: "It was definitely scary and crazy. You'd think they could say: 'Hey, we want to talk to you. We are looking in to something.'
"I was just standing there. It was blatantly unnecessary. You'd think at one point they'd get the memo, but there was no stopping it."
The sportsman, who was on his way to the US Open when he was stopped, was released after 15 minutes when police established he was not a suspect.
The New York Police Department is now investigating whether excessive force was used in the arrest and one officer has been placed on modified duties.
Blake said he believed race "probably played a factor" but the level of force used was his main concern.
The former world number four retired in 2013 having won 10 singles titles in his career.