James Blake wants more than just an apology from the City of New York after a plainclothes police officer tackled and wrongfully arrested him on Wednesday. The former tennis star is calling for the officer to be fired, effective immediately.
"I don't think this person should ever have a badge or a gun again," Blake, 35, said a day after surveillance video of the arrest outside a Manhattan hotel was released. The video is accompanied by the leak of several prior complaints about the officer's excessive use of force. "I don't think it's too much to ask."
James Frascatore, the arresting officer who has been with the NYPD for four years, has been named in several civil rights lawsuits alleging excessive force. He has also been the subject of four civilian complaints — that's more than the average for NYPD officers, according to complaint data.
"I think that that kind of police officer tarnishes the badge, which I have the utmost respect for, and I believe that the majority of police officers do great work and they're heroes," Blake said. "So this person doesn't ever belong in the same sentence with the heroes that are doing the right kind of police work and keeping the public safe."
While mayor Bill de Blasio and the New York City police commissioner William Bratton have both apologized to Blake for the mixup, on Friday, Patrolmen's Benevolent Association president Patrick Lynch said Blake's arrest was made "under fluid circumstances where the subject might have fled, and the officer did a professional job of bringing the individual to the ground."
Frascatore, the officer who mistakenly arrested Blake, thinking he was wanted for hawking stolen goods, has been placed on desk duty while internal affairs detectives continue their investigation.
A police spokesman declined to comment on Blake's remarks, saying the internal investigation is ongoing.
Blake said Saturday that he was appreciative of Bratton and Mayor Bill de Blasio's apologies, but says others who have been wrongly arrested or mistreated by officers — who don't have the public platform the former top-ranked tennis star does — would receive the same treatment.
"I'm sure this isn't the first time police brutality has happened, and I'm sure it's not the last time," Blake said. "So I want them to apologize to the people that this happens to that don't have the same voice that I have."
Watch: Caught on Tape: James Blake Tackled by Cop in the video below.
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(Photo: AP Photo/Bryan R. Smith)
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