VIDEO: Cop tackles James Blake
NEW YORK - The NYPD released security camera video from outside the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Manhattan that shows a plainclothes police officer tackling former tennis pro James Blake and then handcuffing him. Police officers soon released Blake after realizing they had the wrong man.
"The NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau interviewed James Blake last night," Deputy Commissioner Stephen Davis said in a statement. "A copy of the video was provided to Mr. Blake’s attorney. The investigation is still ongoing."
Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said Thursday that he apologized to Blake. The officers apparently mistook the former No. 4 player in the world for a suspect that bought cell phones using a fraudulent credit card. Police said a cooperating witness pointed him out.
Blake said the officer never identified himself as a cop and wasn't wearing a visible police shield.
"The officer, who was apparently investigating a case of credit card fraud, 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," Blake said in a statement released Friday. "And while I continue to believe the vast majority of our police officers are dedicated public servants who conduct themselves appropriately, I know that what happened to me is not uncommon."
The NYPD stripped Officer James Frascatore of his gun and badge while Internal Affairs investigates.
The president of the PBA, the union that represents rank-and-file cops, said defended Frascatore's actions while also expressing "regret."
"The police officer was apprehending what he had every reason to believe was an individual who had just committed a crime," the PBA's Patrick Lynch said in a statement. "The apprehension 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 to prevent that occurrence. It is truly unfortunate that the arrest was a result of mistaken identity by the complainant in the case and we regret any embarrassment or injury suffered by Mr. Blake as a result."
"When this incident was reported in the news media, Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Bratton both called me to extend their personal apologies, and I greatly appreciate those gestures. But extending courtesy to a public figure mistreated by the police is not enough," Blake said in his statement. "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."