James Frascatore, the NYPD officer who slammed James Blake, former tennis pro, to the ground back in 2015 because he thought he was a scammer, received a five-day punishment from Police Commissioner James O’Neill.
Blake’s lawyer, Kevin Marino, said the action is not a deterrent but encouragement for police to use excessive force.
This “punishment,” after he was found guilty at the end of a nearly three-year trial, was after Blake agreed to drop the suit against the city almost one year ago, following apologies from Mayor DeBlasio and former commissioner William Bratton. And this also follows the agreement to establish a legal fellowship in Blake’s name within the Civilian Complaint Review Board for those who need assistance fighting grievances against police misconduct.
Monifa Bandele, Communities United for Police Reform spokesperson, stated that the fact the officer wasn’t fired is a testament to the NYPD’s disciplinary system “prioritizing protecting abusive officers over public safety.”
O’Neill’s decision seems to fly in the face of his ongoing “neighborhood policing” initiative and his development of the Office of Equity and Inclusion, as well as his promotion of Nilda Irizarry Hoffman, now the first Hispanic woman chief of community affairs, back in January.
Those decisions seem out of touch with regard to Officer Frascatore’s unaddressed actions. According to the CUPR, he received five civilian complaints and engaged in multiple incidents of misconduct before attacking Blake.
Frascatore also filed a federal defamation lawsuit against Blake, saying he was the victim of racism and discrimination due to Blake referring to him as a racist and NYC agencies discriminating against him. He also tried to cover his tracks and is now facing additional disciplinary charges for using desk duty time to search for videos that might clear him.