NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association is responding to editorials calling for the firing of the police officer involved in the mistaken arrest of former tennis pro James Blake.
Frascatore was seen on video approaching Blake outside a Midtown hotel, grabbing him and taking him down to the ground. Blake has said that Frascatore never identified himself and has called on Frascatore to be fired.
Frascatore was part of a financial crimes task force investigating $18,000 in fraudulent card purchases from an online shopping delivery service, police said. Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said a courier making a delivery mistakenly identified Blake as a suspect who he delivered to in the past.
The PBA is pushing back, with president Pat Lynch releasing this open letter:
To all arm-chair judges:
If you have never struggled with someone who is resisting arrest or who pulled a gun or knife on you when you approached them for breaking a law, then you are not qualified to judge the actions of police officers putting themselves in harm’s way for the public good.
It is mystifying to all police officers to see pundits and editorial writers whose only expertise is writing fast-breaking, personal opinion, and who have never faced the dangers that police officers routinely do, come to instant conclusions that an officer’s actions were wrong based upon nothing but a silent video. That is irresponsible, unjust and un-American. Worse than that, your uninformed rhetoric is inflammatory and only serves to worsen police/community relations.
In the unfortunate case of former tennis pro, James Blake, — who was clearly but mistakenly identified by a complainant — there certainly can be mitigating circumstances which caused the officer to handle the situation in the manner he did. Do they exist? Frankly, no one will know for sure until there is a full and complete investigation. That is why no one should ever jump to an uninformed conclusion based upon a few seconds of video. Let all of the facts lead where they will, but police officers have earned the benefit of the doubt because of the dangers we routinely face.
The men and women of the NYPD are once again disheartened to read another the knee-jerk reaction from ivory tower pundits who enjoy the safety provided by our police department without understanding the very real risks that we take to provide that safety. Due process is the American way of obtaining justice, not summary professional execution called for by editorial writers.
Patrick J. Lynch
Blake was cleared as the wrong suspect 15 minutes after he was taken down, but he maintained that it was excessive force and abuse of police power.
Blake said he plans to meet with the commissioner and mayor to discuss ways for the NYPD to change so he does not have to resort to a lawsuit.
“I’m not going to go and sue the city for my own gain,” he said. “If we’re going to sue for millions, we’re going to make it go to a fund to help victims of police brutality and we’re going to effect change to make sure this not happen again.”
Frascatore has been placed on desk duty, and the NYPD confirmed he has had several complaints filed against him in his four years with the department.
Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton have both apologized to Blake about the incident.