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Video Shows NYPD Cop With Long History of Complaints Tackle Tennis Star James Blake

The NYPD released footage of an officer who faces multiple civilian complaints of excessive force wrestling the retired professional tennis player to the ground.

by VICE News
Sep 12 2015, 3:34pm

Photo via NYPD Connect/YouTube

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The New York Police Department released video footage on Friday of an officer tackling retired tennis player James Blake outside of Manhattan hotel.

At the start of the footage, Blake, once the top-ranked US men's player, appears relaxed, leaning up against a pillar beside a luggage trolley outside the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Midtown.

Blake doesn't even appear to react when officer James Frascatore, in plain clothes, rushes toward him, grabs his hands, spins him around, and wrestles him to the ground.

In a matter of seconds, Blake ends up face-down on the cement, with Frascatore's knee pinning him to the ground. The officer apparently mistook the 35-year-old Blake for a suspect involved in credit card fraud ring.

Related: People Are Filming the NYPD — And It's Making It Easier to Investigate Misconduct

Frascatore, who joined the NYPD in 2011, has racked up a long list of complaints against him in just four years.

The New York Daily News reported that Frascatore is presently a defendant in four civil cases where the plaintiffs allege he used excessive force during false arrests. According to a WNYC investigation from December, Frascatore was named in five separate civilian complaints in a single seven month period in 2013.

The Civilian Complaint Review Board, which fields complaints against the police, also found that Frascatore made false statements under oath. The board encouraged the NYPD's Internal Affairs Bureau to investigate the matter.

Police Commissioner Bill Bratton phoned Blake on Thursday to personally apologize for the incident. Blake met with the the NYPD's Internal Affairs Bureau about the incident the same night, Deputy Commissioner Stephen Davis said.

Related: The NYPD Will Now Give 'Receipts' To the People They Stop and Frisk

Frascatore has been reassigned to desk duty, and is expected to meet with Internal Affairs officers next week.

In a statement released on Friday, Blake said Frascatore "did not identify himself as a member of law enforcement, ask my name, read me my rights, or in any way afford me the dignity and respect due every person who walks the streets of this country."

The tennis player said the incident has convinced him to push for better relations between the City of New York, the NYPD, and the public. He said that he and a representative would be meeting with Bratton to discuss their ideas soon.

"I know that what happened to me is not uncommon," Blake said.  

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