The New York Police Department released Friday video appearing to show Officer James Frascatore first tackling and then forcefully handcuffing former tennis player James Blake in front of a Manhattan hotel. The NYPD has said the detaining of Blake, who is African-American, by Frascatore, who is white, was a case of mistaken identity, but the former No. 4 player in the world has said he believed race could have been a factor.
Blake, 38, released a statement about the incident Friday, after the release of the video. He said in the statement that he had been thrown to the ground, cuffed, "paraded" down a crowded sidewalk and detained for 10 minutes until officers realized they had made a mistake while reportedly investigating a case of identity fraud. He also said in the statement that he was not asked for his name, that he was not read his rights and that Frascatore, dressed in plainclothes, did not identify himself as a law-enforcement officer.
According to the statement, the officer also did not "afford [Blake] the dignity and respect due every person who walks the streets of this country. And while I continue to believe the vast majority of our police officers are dedicated public servants who conduct themselves appropriately, I know that happened to me is not uncommon."
NYPD releases video of James Blake being arrested. pic.twitter.com/OD4HQINlJy
— Ryan Ruggiero (@RyanRuggiero) September 11, 2015
Frascatore reportedly has a history of being accused of using excessive force. He was the subject of five civilian complaints in a seven-month period in 2013 and was named in two federal civil-rights lawsuits alleging that a group of officers beat, pepper-sprayed and falsely arrested two men in separate incidents, according to WNBC-TV in New York. Frascatore, 38, was placed on desk duty following the incident while the department carries out an investigation, according to the Washington Post.
— Dan Linden (@DanLinden) September 11, 2015
NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton issued an apology to Blake Thursday. "What he described is not what we do, it's not what we're supposed to do. We will very aggressively address it, and I will not tolerate any excessive use of force on the part of my police," Bratton told the local television station NY1, according to the New York Times.
Blake had previously said he wanted the video to be released and told the New York Daily News that there was "probably a race factor involved." In his statement, the unofficially retired tennis star said the police commissioner -- who, along with Mayor Bill de Blasio, called to issue a personal apology -- had agreed to meet with him to discuss ideas about improving the relationship between police and citizens.