Ex-tennis star James Blake slams "dysfunctional" NYPD decision on cop who tackled him

June 8, 2018
Graham Rayman
New York Daily News

Former pro tennis star James Blake on Friday slammed the NYPD’s decision to take just five vacation days from a cop who in 2015 mistook him for a criminal and tackled him on a Midtown sidewalk.

Blake called Police Commissioner James O’Neill’s ruling in Officer James Frascatore’s case “dysfunctional.”

“The lack of meaningful discipline for the NYPD officer found guilty of using excessive force against me, while I was simply waiting outside of my hotel, is indicative of a broken disciplinary system,” Blake said in a statement released by Communities United for Police Reform.

“Officer Frascatore had a record of misconduct complaints for the abusive treatment of civilians before he body-slammed me – it was reported that he had five civilian complaints within seven months of 2013. Losing a few vacation days for the use of excessive force, following a history of repeated civilian complaints, is not meaningful discipline.”


Blake’s statement came in response to an exclusive Daily News report that disclosed the penalty, which was lighter than what was recommended by an independent oversight board.

O’Neill decided Frascatore’s case in February — but the NYPD didn’t disclose his decision it because of a policy established in 2016 to withhold disciplinary case decisions from the public.

The NYPD’s decision to withhold discipline rulings was based on a new reading of Section 50-a of the state Civil Rights Law, which it says requires secrecy for “records used to evaluate performance toward continued employment or promotion” of police officers. Before 2016, the NYPD made disciplinary outcomes public.

On Friday, civil rights groups went to City Hall to argue that the NYPD policy and state law should be changed to give the public information on police discipline. New York is one of one three states that so sharply restrict such information, the activists said.

“The sky is not going to fall if this information is available to the public,” said Cynthia Conti-Cook of the Legal Aid Society, which has sued the city over the policy.

O’Neill and Mayor de Blasio have said they are trying to get the law changed in Albany — but state Assemblyman Dan Quart (D-Manhattan) said he hasn’t seen evidence of it.

“Other cities are able to do this, but we make no effort to do anything,” Quart said.

In response to the Blake article, the NYPD said Thursday, “the Commissioner finalized the case, consistent with the findings and recommendations of the Trial’s Commissioner.” Police declined further comment.

The decision in Blake’s case came five months after Frascatore was found guilty at a departmental trial of using excessive force.

Lawyers for the Civilian Complaint Review Board recommended Frascatore be docked 10 vacation days for his Sept. 9, 2015 encounter with Blake outside a hotel on E. 42ndSt. near Lexington Ave.

Frascatore, who was on a stakeout, mistook Blake for a credit card scammer.

Blake found even the 10-day penalty inadequate, and said he wanted the cop fired.

Then-Police Commissioner Bill Bratton and Mayor de Blasio apologized to Blake after the incident. Blake later agreed not to sue the city.

Frascatore remains on desk duty while he is the subject of another pending disciplinary case.

He is accused of knowing that his sister-in-law leaked a video of him and Blake shaking hands to a media outlet during the investigation, and searching for security footage that would help clear himself while on desk duty.

He is also accused of not voiding an arrest in a timely manner and failing to notify a supervisor of the incident.