James Blake (1979- ), a retired American tennis star, was once ranked fourth in the world. He won second place in the 2006 Tennis Masters Cup. He was also named Arthur Ashe Humanitarian of the Year. It was after he heard Arthur Ashe himself speak in Harlem that he knew he wanted to be a tennis player. He dropped out of Harvard to become one.
On September 9th 2015, the New York police (NYPD) threw him to the ground and arrested him – for credit card fraud. The police outnumbered Blake six to one. This was in front of the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Midtown Manhattan. They paraded Blake through the streets in handcuffs. Only after 15 minutes did they discover they had the wrong man.
“‘[He] wasn’t doing anything wrong, but this still happened.”
The arrest was caught on video on the hotel’s security camera: Blake was calmly waiting in front of the hotel (for a ride to the US Open). A man comes up out of nowhere and jumps him. It was a plains clothes police officer. Blake did not put up any kind of fight.
The police did not report the arrest. William Bratton, the police commissioner, found out about it from the press.
Bratton and Mayor Bill de Blasio were quick to apologize. And quick to out the arresting officer: James Frascatore.
Was it about race? Frascatore and the five other officers were White, Blake is Black (or biracial).
Blake’s determinedly colour-blind (White) mother thinks so.
“This rush to put a race tag on it, I’m sorry, that’s not involved in this incident at all. That doesn’t denote there’s a racial angle to this at all. … The concern we had: was the force used appropriate, and the initial review – we believe it may not have been.”
“I think the race issue is a bigger issue for another day and this is about excessive force.”
Blake on Frascatore:
“He should lose his job, this is not the right job for him.”
Blake might bring a lawsuit, but he would rather the NYPD change its ways.
Frascatore was a police officer in Florida. In the past four years that he has been with the NYPD, he has had five civilian complaints and two excessive-force lawsuits brought against him. Both excessive-force lawsuits were brought by Black men.
One of the civilian complaints:
- Leroy Cline says Frascatore punched him the mouth three times after pulling him over for a broken tail light. Frascatore said Cline tried to bite him.
The two lawsuits:
- Stefon Luckey says Frascatore punched him twice in the stomach and called him a “fucking nigger” after racially profiling him outside a Queens deli in 2013. He says Frascatore threw the first punch.
- Warren Diggs says Frascatore “sadistically and maliciously” beat him outside his home in 2013.
“Hopefully, [Blake’s] in a better position to do something about it so that he won’t be able to get away with it anymore.”
Frascatore is on desk duty while the police investigate themselves.
– Abagond, 2015.
- respectability politics
- The Black-on-Black crime argument
- Black Brute stereotype
- Police coming out of nowhere, shooting first and asking questions later: