Under major criticism for a case of mistaken identity, the New York Police Department on Friday released disturbing surveillance video of the moment an undercover officer tackled and handcuffed tennis star James Blake.
The incident, which occurred as Blake stood outside the Grand Hyatt New York Hotel in Manhattan, has added fuel to a national conversation about police practices and how police interact with the communities they serve. The department says Blake was misidentified by a witness as a suspect in a credit card fraud ring. Blake, however, was in town for the U.S. Open.
Blake, dressed in a white T-shirt, can be seen being thrown to the ground by the officer, who then twists his arms to place him in handcuffs. The police commissioner has since apologized for the case of mistaken identity, but in recent days Blake has been vocal about his plan to use the incident as a catalyst for real police reform.
According to NBC:
Blake has said the officer never identified himself or explained why he was knocked down and handcuffed. He said he told officers to check his identification, and was released.
Police brass didn’t hear about the mistake until Blake spoke to the media about it.
The apparent lack of reporting, as well as the incident itself, are subject to an internal NYPD investigation. Detectives from the internal affairs bureau interviewed Blake about the incident Thursday night, officials said.
The officer involved in the incident, identified as James Frascatore, has since been placed on desk duty. Shortly after the encounter, it was revealed that Frascatore was the subject of “five civilian complaints in a seven-month period in 2013,” NBC writes.
He has also been named in two federal civil rights lawsuits for cases of police brutality, the site reports.
SOURCE: NBC | VIDEO SOURCE: NDN
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