Blake Police Brutality Trail Starts: NYPD Uses Excessive Force Against Former Tennis Star
After years of delays and multiple false starts, NYPD Officer James Frascatore, the cop responsible for the unprovoked and brutal attack of retired tennis star James Blake, will finally stand trial for NYPD discipline.
“The excessive force used against me by the NYPD is the same harsh treatment that communities of color have experienced for far too long,” said Mr. Blake. “I never thought that it would take more than two years for a disciplinary proceeding to take place but I now understand this as unfortunately commonplace in New York City. Based on his past misconduct record and his attack on me, it's clear that James Frascatore is a danger to New Yorkers and should not be part of the NYPD. Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner O'Neill should make sure to fire James Frascatore and hold all officers who abuse their authority accountable in order to send a clear message that police abuse will not be tolerated, and to re-instill faith in the many officers who do their job with respect for the communities they police."
Blake, once the fourth ranked tennis player in the world, was standing outside of his midtown Manhattan hotel on September 9, 2015 when Frascatore, dressed in plain-clothes, tackled, slammed Blake to the ground and handcuffed him all without warning, explanation or probable cause.
"At long last -- nearly two years after the CCRB found that he used excessive force -- the NYPD departmental trial of James Frascatore begins today, for his totally unwarranted attack on James Blake. The NYPD must fire Frascatore. He has been the subject of numerous CCRB complaints for assault and verbal abuse, more than five in just a seven-month period (more than 90% of officers have in their entire career). We must also use this moment to demand a more accountable, more transparent, more timely process for departmental trials when police misconduct is substantiated by the CCRB. The current process takes far too long, is maddeningly opaque, and delivers too little justice," said Councilmember Brad Lander.
Frascatore’s use of excessive force should come as no surprise – he has a long history of complaints for misconduct against civilians, and over a seven-month period in 2013, prior to him using excessive force against Blake, was the subject of five civilian complaints. Despite his history of abuse, Frascatore remains on the force.
“Once again, the NYPD is ignoring a disturbing pattern of civilian complaints to protect one of their own,” said Anthonine Pierre of Communities United for Police Reform. “The time to address the systemic failure of the NYPD to hold officers accountable in a timely and meaningful way is long overdue. Mayor de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner O'Neill should fire James Frascatore so that he is no longer a danger to our communities, just as they should schedule trials to fire Daniel Pantaleo for using a banned chokehold to kill Eric Garner as well as Sgt. Scott Morris and John McLoughlin for their roles in killing Ramarley Graham over five years ago.”
The NYPD initially attempted to downplay the incident but changed its story after surveillance footage from the hotel was publicly released. The Civilian Complaint Review Board substantiated Mr. Blake’s complaint against the officer a month after the incident in October 2015. Yet two years after the incident, the officer has not been held accountable, his disciplinary trial has been rescheduled multiple times, and is only now beginning. Communities United for Police Reform and other advocates have been critical of the de Blasio administration for failing to address the systemic failure of the NYPD to hold officers accountable in a timely and meaningful way, arguing it perpetuates police abuses, brutality and killings of civilians.
About Communities United for Police Reform
Communities United for Police Reform (CPR) is an unprecedented campaign to end discriminatory policing practices in New York, and to build a lasting movement that promotes public safety and policing practices based on cooperation and respect– not discriminatory targeting and harassment.
CPR brings together a movement of community members, lawyers, researchers and activists to work for change. The partners in this campaign come from all 5 boroughs, from all walks of life and represent many of those unfairly targeted the most by the NYPD. CPR is fighting for reforms that will promote community safety while ensuring that the NYPD protects and serves all New Yorkers.