At NYPD Trial, Blake Recalls Being Attacked & Wrongfully Cuffed by NYPD, Reiterates Call to Fire Officer with Significant History of Civilian Complaints

Although hotel video footage clearly showed Officer James Frascatore using excessive force against retired tennis pro James Blake, the trial today featured a witness attempting to defend Frascatore’s brutal actions. Despite today’s testimony from the defense witness Daniel Modell, whose credibility was vigorously challenged in court, Blake remained steadfast that there is no justification for Frascatore’s actions.

“What the world saw on that video is what people of color have been experiencing at the hands of the NYPD for far too long,” said Blake. “Without warning or explanation, Officer Frascatore tackled me, slammed me to the ground and placed me in handcuffs, and nothing the defense can say will ever change the reality of unjustified excessive force that was used.  Again, I’m calling on Mayor de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner O'Neill to do what should have been done two years ago at the time of Officer Frascatore’s attack, and fire him from the police force.”

Today in the courtroom, defense witness Daniel Modell admitted to being disciplined in the past by the NYPD for ticket fixing. In the January 2017 trial of the officer who killed Ramarley Graham, for which Modell was also a defense witness, Modell’s credibility was further brought into question when it was revealed that he had left the department on bad terms after only 14 months as a tactical trainer. It was also disclosed that his use of force certifications were issued by someone who has been discredited by the Justice Department and others for “lacking credibility”.

Communities United for Police Reform (CPR), who has long been critical of the systemic problems enabling lack of accountability for police brutality and the lack of action from Mayor de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner O’Neill, echoed Blake’s statement that the NYPD is ignoring disturbing patterns of civilian complaints and failing to hold officers accountable.

“The time to fire Frascatore is long overdue,” said Anthonine Pierre of Communities United for Police Reform (CPR). “While today’s defense testimony attempted to justify excessive force as ‘part of the job’, New Yorkers know better. NYPD officers like Frascatore, Daniel Pantaleo, who used a banned chokehold to kill Eric Garner, and Sgt. Scott Morris and John McLoughlin, who broke multiple protocols and unlawfully busted into Ramarley Graham’s home resulting in his death, pose a danger to our communities and must be fired. It’s outrageous that years later, these officers are still being paid by tax dollars as part of the NYPD. This lack of accountability and the failure of the Mayor and Commissioner to take these cases seriously makes New York less safe.”

In an unusual move, the NYPD trial judge closed the court to the public for about 15 minutes during the trial’s second day, when the defense witness was being questioned about his own disciplinary misconduct at the NYPD.

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.

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