The officer whose rough treatment of former tennis star James Blake has caused a scandal for the New York Police Department has had a string of complaints made against him by African Americans for excessive force over the years.
The New York Daily News and New York Times both dug up the checkered career history of James Frascatore. Frascatore has been placed on desk duty after video emerged showing him lunging at Blake and throwing him to the ground. The officer, the News wrote, "is a defendant in four ongoing civil cases that charge he and other officers used excessive force during false arrests…[and] has also had at least five complaints lodged against him with the Civilian Complaint Review Board."
The Times detailed the racially charged nature of some of those complaints, highlighting two cases in which black men alleged that Frascatore had used excessive force against them:
In 2012, a Queens man said, Officer James Frascatore pulled him over for a broken taillight, opened his car door and punched him three times in the mouth, unprovoked.
The following year, another Queens resident claimed, Officer Frascatore punched him in the stomach several times outside a bodega and called him a racial epithet.
Of course, neither of those men were famous tennis players, so their allegations didn't make the front pages—a discrepancy noted by Blake himself in a statement on Friday.
[E]xtending courtesy to a public figure mistreated by the police is not enough. As I told [Commissioner Bill Bratton], I am determined to use my voice to turn this unfortunate incident into a catalyst for change in the relationship between the police and the public they serve. For that reason, I am calling upon the City of New York to make a significant financial commitment to improving that relationship, particularly in those neighborhoods where incidents of the type I experienced occur all too frequently.