James Blake arrest video


By now many people would have heard about 35-year old former US tennis star James Blake being tackled by a plain clothes policeman while he was waiting outside the fancy Grand Hyatt hotel in New York City for a car to take him to the US Open. The police claim that it was a case of mistaken identity. While that may well be true, it is incredible how brutally Blake was tackled, leaving him with cuts and bruises, when he was simply standing there minding his own business

Both the city’s police commissioner Bill Bratton and mayor Bill de Blasio have apologized for the incident, because Blake’s fame has prompted media coverage. But how many unknown young black people are treated like this and never receive any apology?

The officer, James Frascatore, who is white, is a defendant in two federal lawsuits filed earlier that allege excessive force in separate incidents.

Last year, Frascatore was named in an amended complaint filed in federal court in Brooklyn alleging he and seven other officers and sergeants beat and unlawfully arrested a man in a Queens deli in May 2013.

The officer is also named in a complaint filed in May alleging that officers used excessive force against a man named Warren Diggs for riding his bicycle on the sidewalk in 2013. The city denies the allegations in an answer to the complaint, according to court paperwork.

While Bratton apologized he also defended the police action and said that race had nothing to do with it.

“Sorry, race has nothing at all to do with this. If you look at the photograph of the suspect it looks like the twin brother of Mr. Blake,” Bratton said on CNN.

“So let’s put that nonsense to rest right now, race has nothing to do with this. We have a witness who identified Mr. Blake as an individual who he had sold a phone to and had been given a false credit card.”

Cops eventually figured out Blake was completely innocent.

Bratton defended his cops: “The officers acted on that information, the witness was there and pointed him out and turns out he was not the individual. They look so much alike.”

Even if the suspect and Blake looked somewhat alike, the offense was a petty white collar crime involving a fake credit card, not a violent crime. Why should the suspect be tackled like that without the officer identifying himself and the suspect being questioned first?

Apart from the security video revealing that the assault was totally unprovoked, it is noteworthy how many people simply walk past, except for one woman who said something.

Comments

  1. moarscienceplz says

    Even if the suspect and Blake looked somewhat alike, the offense was a petty white collar crime involving a fake credit card, not a violent crime. Why should the suspect be tackled like that without the officer identifying himself and the suspect being questioned first?

    Exactly. Cops are neither judges, juries, nor executioners. Anytime they use force on someone, guilty or not, they have almost certainly failed to do their job properly.

  2. EigenSprocketUK says

    “why yes officer, that is the man I pointed out to you … ah sorry, oops, er … why yes officer THAT is indeed the man I pointed out to you earlier as being the man I was selling my very own personal phone to. I can remember it quite clearly now. As clear as day. It was only a few minutes ago. (Did I say that right? Will you rip up my ticket now?)”

  3. EigenSprocketUK says

    The defence of the arrest from Bratton (who wasn’t there) was “They look so much alike.”
    <facepalm>

  4. says

    “Apart from the security video revealing that the assault was totally unprovoked, it is noteworthy how many people simply walk past, except for one woman who said something.”

    As we have seen far too often, in many similar situations, it can be downright deadly to interfere with cops assaulting someone. When police officers are in a kicking heads kind of mood, smart people do not offer their own heads for kicking.

  5. Lesbian Catnip says

    When police officers are in a kicking heads kind of mood, smart people do not offer their own heads for kicking.

    Smart, cowards, tomay-to, tomah-to.

    Sorry white bystanders, are you afraid the police will use unnecessary force on you? Gee, I wonder what demographics in America experience that every. fucking. day.

  6. Sam N says

    I’ve been thinking lately about how much police unions disgust me. Many unions, actually, and this is despite a firm belief that unions have done far more good in the United States than harm. But what lacks from these unions are a standard of conduct. The union should be working to have horrible officers like Frascatore eliminated from the force as soon as possible for the good of other police officers. I would like to say this is solely due to a ‘blue shield’ effect, but teachers unions routinely make it near-impossible to fire teachers that are clearly just awful, and reduce our perception of the 90% of them that are fantastic.

    I understand problems with a mechanism to remove senior unionized positions–that when injustice occurs, that it will affect minorities and women more than white men. Still, it seems some type of accountability needs to be set up to maintain standards of the workforce within unions–and I want it to be the unions setting this up–creating this accountability.

    Working in an academic setting I know administrators that have cost their organization or department $100,000+ by being so incompetent as to be worse than not even having the individual at all would improve operations. What happens? The department promotes the individual to get them out of their hair and create problems somewhere else on the campus. It’s absurd. It is downright horrifying and terrible in the case of malicious, overly aggressive police, though.

    By the way, I am a member of a recently created union, and while I’m happy to see it fight for benefits (which largely don’t affect me, I would have been given them anyway, but for other members in this union it’s important). What I don’t like, is that absolutely no thought is given toward maintaining quality of our workforce. If someone in my union is not doing their job to a reasonable standard, I want our union to review their performance, and allow the organization I work for to get rid of them.

  7. Uncle Ebeneezer says

    Does race have anything to do with this? Easy way to find out. Ask Black Americans if anything like this has ever happened to them before. Now ask White Americans. Compare the results and there’s your answer.

    Hint: the answer is “obviously, yes.”

  8. says

    I was stopped by a cop last week while walking in a town of about 75K, because I matched the description of a suspect in a cell phone theft. There was no tackling, and in fact no physical contact at all. He approached me calmly and explained the situation, I let him see inside my bag, patted down my own pockets, and once he was satisfied that the only phone I had was my own he sent me on my way. While I wouldn’t describe the experience as pleasant (I have several unpaid fines that may or may not have turned into warrants so it was actually quite nerve wracking) the cop was polite and professional the whole time. Presumably he realized that a cell phone thief (like a credit card scammer) is unlikely to be dangerous and at worst might try to make a run for it. I’m also pretty sure that if he had charged at me in plainclothes with A FUCKING SKI MASK I would have run, since he would have been indistinguishable from a mugger or perhaps a bigot looking to bash a queer.

  9. Mano Singham says

    dysomniak @#8,

    People have the right to refuse to a search of their personal property in the absence of a warrant. The choice is theirs and theirs alone as to whether to allow it. You chose to allow it and that is fine. But if you had chosen not to, the police officer would have had to leave you alone.

    Of course, if you had chosen not to, he might have run a check on you and found the unpaid fines and used that to harass you. It is this threat that unrelated issues may be used against you that makes such interactions nerve-wracking when they should not be.

  10. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Mano
    Careful with that legal advice. AFAICT, even 50 years ago forceful noncompliance with unlawful orders was itself lawful. However, today, it is unlawful to forcefully noncomply with unlawful orders from cops. If they tell you to spread your arms and legs for a patdown, empty your pockets, etc., it is unlawful to resist the cop’s attempts, even when the cop has absolutely zero basis.

    The best you can reasonably hope for is something like the following (sorry I don’t know the technical legalese). Say “I do not voluntarily consent to this search, but I will comply with your orders that are issued under the color of law because it is legally required of me.” Then, hope the cop’s behavior was egregious enough that qualified immunity doesn’t apply so you can sue them civilly. Spoiler: There’s almost no chance in hell that you will get a successful civil suit.

    If you’re feeling especially adventurous, if the cop uses passive language like “could you do X please?”, say “I’m sorry – is that a voluntary request or a lawful order?”. Be warned that you may find yourself getting beaten if you try this and also charged with various noncompliance charges. If you’re lucky, the cop will clarify that it is an order and not a request and give you a chance to comply before beating you.

    This is just another example of why we need to reign in police powers. We need to restore the requirement that the police need a warrant to arrest someone for a crime committed outside their presence (with an exception for felons perhaps). We need to restore the requirement that the police must present an arrest warrant to the person and give them a chance to read the warrant before being lawfully allowed to use force to enact the arrest. We need to restore the right / privilege of persons to forcefully resist the execution of unlawful warrants (and of course any person who resists should suffer the consequences if a court later declares that the warrant was actually valid and lawfully used, but the person should suffer no consequences if a court later determines that the warrant was invalid or unlawfully used.) We need to do so many things.

    Most people on the left and right think that we need to give so many powers to the police because they live in a culture of fear. The Republicans tend to have a great majority portion of fear politics, but the left and right both have a great deal of fear politics regarding criminals and the police, which is why we continue to tolerate the police state that is the modern United States and modern government law enforcement practices. People who object to my proposals do so out of fear, and IMAO this fear is almost entirely misplaced. The police can do their jobs just as well with all of the limitations that I would impose on them.

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