Fate Of NYPD Officer Who Tackled James Blake Will Be A Secret: Gothamist
NYPD officer James Frascatore tackling James Blake in 2015
The disciplinary trial of Officer James Frascatore wrapped up on Tuesday, bringing something of a conclusion to a two-year saga that began when the officer tackled and wrongfully arrested James Blake in 2015. But despite the retired tennis star’s best efforts, the cop is expected to keep his job, and any potential repercussions for Frascatore are likely to be doled out in secret.
During closing arguments at One Police Plaza, Civilian Complaint Review Board [CCRB] prosecutor Jonathan Fogel accused Officer James Frascatore of going rogue during the 2015 incident, and compared him to both Rambo and an NFL linebacker.
Frascatore’s attorney Stephen Worth disputed the characterization, arguing that, “He did what he was told to do, what he was sworn to do.” The defense attorney added, “If you look at [the arrest] in real time rather than Monday morning replay, his actions were entirely appropriate.”
Blake, who’s repeatedly called for Frascatore’s termination, reiterated that demand yet again on Tuesday. “It’s been more than 2 years since NYPD Officer James Frascatore attacked me in front of a midtown Manhattan hotel—slamming me to the ground and wrongly handcuffing me in broad daylight without ever even identifying himself—yet he is still an active NYPD officer,” he said in a statement.
Blake also mentioned Frascatore’s lengthy civilian complaint record, noting that he once racked up five complaints in the span of seven months, at least one of which was settled by the city.
But while Blake wants Frascatore fired, the CCRB is only pushing for the NYPD to take away 10 vacation days from the troubled officer. A judge will soon make a final recommendation to Police Commissioner James O’Neill, who will then have final say in determining any punishment. Because the NYPD abruptly stopped sharing the outcomes of police disciplinary cases last year, it’s likely that the public—including James Blake—won’t ever know whether Frascatore faced any consequences.
The hidden verdict, and the CCRB’s decision not to push for suspension or termination, has incensed some police accountability groups.
“The CCRB seeking only to take away vacation days from an NYPD officer who used excessive force against James Blake undermines the agency’s purpose of pursuing meaningful accountability for police brutality and misconduct,” said Communities United for Police Reform spokesperson Mandela Jones. “This type of slap on the wrist sends the message that officers who abuse and brutalize people in this city will be protected.”
Asked why the board had only pursued the vacation days penalty, CCRB Executive Director Jonathan Darche told Gothamist, “When recommending discipline, the CCRB reviews a number of factors—the circumstances of the incident, injury to the victim, the officer’s disciplinary record, and discipline applied by the Police Commissioner in previous cases of a similar nature.”
Representatives of the NYPD and the Mayor’s Office both did not respond to a question about whether the department could make an exception to the disclosure rules—as they’ve done several times in the past—or if the outcome of the trial will remain secret.