New York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton apologized to former tennis star James Blake after Blake was body-slammed to the ground in a case of mistaken identity. Undercover officers were allegedly investigating a credit card fraud ring and tackled Blake as he exited the Hyatt hotel in Manhattan on Wednesday.
The officer who took down Blake has reportedly been reassigned to desk duty and Bratton acknowledged, "The use of force is such that I'm comfortable that it's in the best interest of the department to place the officer on modified assignment."
The Keystone Kops
The supposed sting sounds like it was botched from the beginning. As The New York Times points out, the man police were after, and who Bratton contends looked like Blake's "twin brother," "turned out to have no role in the scheme." Why officers needed to tackle and handcuff a non-suspect remains a mystery.
Not only that, but the officer who, according to Blake, "was not wearing a badge, picked him up and threw him down on the sidewalk" has a bit of history. Gothamist is reporting NYPD officer James Frascatore has a lengthy record of civilian complaints:
Frascatore racked up five civilian complaints over the course of seven months in 2013. In one instance, Frascatore arrested a woman for allegedly failing to quickly turn over a bicycle they had deemed evidence. After that incident, Frascatore reportedly lied under oath.
The Official Response
Bratton said that Internal Affairs is investigating the matter as to both the use of force and whether officers followed the proper administrative procedures following the mistaken arrest. Bratton also said that Blake indicated he would be willing to meet with investigators to discuss the confrontation.
Blake, the former 4th-ranked tennis player in the world and Yonkers, NY native, appeared on ABC's Good Morning America saying he was still "a little shaken up" by the arrest:
"Most cops are doing a great job at keeping us safe, but when you police with reckless abandon, you need to be held accountable ... those that are doing police work the wrong way need to pay for their actions. They need to either be shown the door or be punished."