<
>

Footage shows officer tackling, putting handcuffs on James Blake

play
NYPD releases video of officer tackling, cuffing James Blake (0:55)

Video footage from the 2015 incident outside of the Grand Hyatt hotel in Manhattan when former tennis player James Blake was grabbed and forced to the ground by an NYPD officer . (0:55)

NEW YORK -- Police have released hotel surveillance footage that shows a police officer tackling former tennis professional James Blake.

The footage shows Blake leaning against a silver pole just outside the door of the Grand Hyatt New York in midtown Manhattan. Plainclothes officer James Frascatore approaches suddenly, grabs Blake's arm and tackles him to the ground.

While Blake lies prone on the sidewalk and people walk by, the officer cuffs him. Blake is helped up and led away.

Blake was mistaken for an identity-theft suspect that Police Commissioner William Bratton said looked like Blake's "twin."

Bratton apologized to Blake, as did Mayor Bill de Blasio. But in a statement he released Friday, Blake, who said he appreciated the gestures, said "extending courtesy to a public figure mistreated by the police is not enough."

"As I told the Commissioner, I am determined to use my voice to turn this unfortunate incident into a catalyst for change in the relationship between the police and the public they serve," Blake said. "For that reason, I am calling upon the City of New York to make a significant financial commitment to improving that relationship, particularly in those neighborhoods where incidents of the type I experienced occur all too frequently. The Commissioner has agreed to meet with my representatives and me to discuss our ideas in that regard, and we very much look forward to that meeting."

Blake, 38, was arrested outside a midtown Manhattan hotel after he was misidentified as being involved in a fraudulent credit card scheme that was using the hotel for deliveries, police have said. Bratton said video of his arrest raises some concerns and internal affairs detectives are investigating the case.

In a statement released later Friday, Bratton and de Blasio again apologized to Blake and said they will continue to try and build trust "between police officers and the people they serve."

"This Administration takes the mission of bringing the police and the community closer together very seriously," the statement said. "It is why the City has already invested nearly $29 million to retrain approximately 22,000 uniformed service members -- with thousands more to be retrained in the coming months. It's why we have invested in new technology and developed new strategies that feature the most focused neighborhood policing efforts ever applied in a major city. And we are beginning to see results, with complaints to the CCRB down to the lowest levels in 14 years. This Administration will continue to vigorously implement these reforms that build trust and respect between police officers and the people they serve, while also keeping New York City the safest big city in America. And we both stand ready to meet with Mr. Blake to further discuss these issues and initiatives."

Police spokesman Stephen Davis said Friday a copy of the footage was provided to Blake's attorney and that Blake had been interviewed by the department's internal affairs division.

Blake reiterated in Friday's statement that the officer did not identify himself as a member of law enforcement, ask Blake's name, read him his rights, "or in any way afford me the dignity and respect due every person who walks the streets of this country."

Blake appeared at the US Open on Friday night in New York, receiving an ovation from the crowd during the second set of the Stan Wawrinka-Roger Federer semifinal match.

Frascatore was the officer who arrested Blake, a law enforcement official confirmed to the Associated Press on Friday.

Frascatore was the subject of four civilian complaints in a seven-month period of 2013, and he has been named in two federal civil rights lawsuits as being among a group of officers accused of beating, pepper spraying and falsely arresting two Queens men in separate incidents that year.

The official told the AP that one of the four complaints was exonerated, another dismissed, a third -- for refusing to identify himself -- was substantiated, and the status of the fourth was unclear.

Bratton said earlier Friday that investigators were reviewing the officer's disciplinary record "understanding that some of those issues were exonerated.'' He didn't elaborate.

A number listed for Frascatore, 38, wasn't in service Friday and a spokesman for his union declined to comment on the claims.

On Thursday, Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, a police union, said in a statement there shouldn't be a rush to judgment before an internal investigation is complete.

"No police officer should ever face punitive action before a complete review of the facts," he said.

Information from The Associated Press was included in this report.