NYPD Officer Who Mistook James Blake for Criminal Has History of Excessive Force Charges
The New York City Police Commissioner, William Bratton, may have made a swift public apology for his force’s conduct toward tennis legend James Blake, but the tennis star still told the world that he was treated with excessive force, and now reports have shown that the mistakenly arresting officer has a history of lawsuits for police brutality and excessive force against him.
“I spoke to Mr. Blake a short time ago and personally apologized for yesterday’s incident,” Bratton said in a statement. “Mr. Blake indicated he would be willing to meet with the Internal Affairs Bureau as our investigation continues.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio also apologized for the NYPD’s conduct toward Mr. Blake, but the damage has already been done. According to reports, Blake was mistaken for a perpetrator during a sting operation and was tackled to the ground and placed in handcuffs. He remained cuffed for 10 minutes before any officers realized they’d mistaken his identity and released him.
“To me it’s as simple as unnecessary police force, no matter what my race is,” he told the newspaper. “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.”
Blake has reached the rank of 4th best tennis player in the world, and has won 10 singles titles. He retired in 2013, but was in the New York Hyatt Hotel because he was asked to be a special guest at the US Open.
The arresting officer, James Frascatore, has been placed on modified assignment after an initial investigation. However, information has been released that Frascatore has faced several personal injury lawsuits caused by his use of excessive force in the past – in fact, he still faces two civil suits at the moment.
The first excessive force charge came stemmed from a May 2013 traffic stop during which Frascatore demanded to see the driver’s – Leroy Cline – identification without saying why. Cline said that, when he asked to know why he’d been pulled over, Frascatore pulled his car door opened and punched him in the mouth three times. In that instance, however, Frascatore counter-sued, saying that Cline attacked him first, biting him and causing other physical damage.
Frascatore also faced an excessive force lawsuit from Warren Diggs, who was tackled and pulled to the ground by Frascatore and two other officers after riding his bicycle on the sidewalk in January 2013. Diggs said he suffered a concussion because of the incident. He also claimed that Frascatore and the two other officers lied under oath about what transpired during the arrest.
In May 2013, Frascatore was one of four officers accused of attacking and pepper-spraying Stefon Luckey to subdue him. He was arrested and then released on no charges. Luckey filed a lawsuit against the police department claiming not only excessive force, but also lying under oath on the part of the four officers involved.
Frascatore faces two more civil lawsuits for police brutality, making five total in less than a year. He has served on the police force for four years.
“I’d like an explanation for how they conducted themselves because I think we all need to be held accountable for our actions, and police as well,” Blake said on ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Thursday, September 10th.