On Sept. 9, 2015, NYPD officer James Frascatore used excessive force in his take-down of former tennis star James Blake, according to an internal police investigation. But not only does the officer defend his actions, he is now suing Blake, HarperCollins Publishers (the publisher of Blake’s book which recounts the incident), the city, the NYPD, and Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) Director Tracy Catapano-Fox. Frascatore is said to be filing his suit in federal court this week.
“People need to realize that, with the information I had at the time and the circumstances that presented themselves, it was the right call,” Frascatore said. “I have a family to go home to. I’m on a crowded sidewalk, with a possibly armed suspect in the middle of 42nd Street. You have to take control of the situation. I can’t just be pulling out my gun.”
Mistaken Identity And Excessive Force
Problem is, Frascatore had the wrong guy. However, he blames the mistaken identity on his supervisors who were overseeing the credit card scam sting operation. The other issue is that CCRB prosecutor Jonathan Fogel said, during Frascatore’s administrative trial, that the officer went too far when he decided to tackle Blake “like an NFL linebacker.” The outcome of the trial is still pending.
Frascatore, 40, alleges in his suit that he has been labelled a “racist goon” and that Blake’s celebrity has caused him to be treated unfairly. The officer also alleges that Blake’s book, Ways of Grace, depicts him in a negative light, slandering him and causing emotional distress.
A Disturbing Pattern Of Behavior
The officer aggressively took Blake down in front of the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Midtown, but it wasn’t the first time Frascatore had targeted innocent people. The New York Times reported in May that at least seven people had filed complaints of abuse against him. The city settled a federal lawsuit with a $169,000 payout to a Queens man who Frascatore allegedly punched and called a racial slur in 2012. Upon hearing about the man’s previous track record, Blake decided that an apology wouldn’t be enough.
“I decided I can’t let this happen to other people without me saying something,” Blake said according to The Hartford Courant. “I need to do what I can to help.”
Perhaps Frascatore has a legitimate complaint. The NYPD had a notorious track record long before the former Florida police officer joined the force in 2011. Maybe the culture of the Blue Wall that has repeatedly enabled NYPD officers to get away with police brutality and murdering unarmed Black men has failed him.
Maybe because it was James Blake, a rich biracial man who was ranked No. 4 in the tennis world, the wagons didn’t circle around Frascatore. Maybe the cost of settling the case was just too high this time. Perhaps his anger is misplaced. For once, justice put on her blindfold. Now why would Frascatore be mad at that?
#WARNING #JamesFrascatore is #ArmedAndDangerous and a #RepeatOffender #ArrestJamesFrascatore In May 2013, Frascatore was one of four officers who were accused of attacking and repeatedly pepper-spraying a Queens man inside a St. Albans bodega for no apparent reason. The awful altercation between Stefon Luckey, a 35-year-old EMT, and the cops was caught of surveillance video obtained by The Daily News. Luckey, who was thrown in cuffs and was later released without charges, later sued in Brooklyn Federal Court alleging the officers submitted “false statements” about what happened “in an effort to cover up and/or conceal their unlawful conduct.” Reached on Friday, Luckey said he wasn’t surprised to find out Frascatore was the cop who tackled Blake. “I don't think the police force is for him,” he said. “He called me the N-word. He used excessive force for no reason, like he has a temper problem.” THOMAS TRACY, DAREH GREGORIAN, RACHELLE BLIDNER, CORKY SIEMASZKONEW YORK DAILY NEWS #BlackLivesMatters #PoliceTerrorism #NYPDFinest #ItDoesNtMatter #StefonLuckey #JamesBlake #WarrenDiggs