James Blake’s false arrest bolsters claims of Blacks as police targets

Retired tennis star James Blake was falsely arrested and physically assaulted by overzealous NYPD cop who refused to identity himself while working undercover.

Retired tennis star James Blake was falsely arrested and physically assaulted by overzealous NYPD cop who refused to identity himself while working undercover.

Poised and self-assured, retired tennis star James Blake has shared his harrowing experience of being aggressively body-slammed on a Manhattan side-walk outside his hotel and falsely arrested by an undercover police office who refused to identify himself.

The police officer was part of a group of undercover officers who zeroed in on Blake while he lounged in the hotel waiting for his ride to the Tennis Open. Saying that he initially planned to keep quiet about the embarrassing incident, James said he changed his mind after discussing the matter with his wife, a publicist.

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Blake, who left Harvard early to pursue his professional career in tennis, rose to the rank of fourth in the world before retiring from the sport after the U.S. Open in 2013. While in New York from his home is San Diego, California, to enjoy the festivities at Arthur Ashe Stadium, Blake was arrested by NYPD undercover officer James Frascatore, who was seeking to apprehend a criminal for allegations of credit card fraud.

James Blake being body slammed by an overzealous undercover NYPD officer.

James Blake being body slammed by James Frascatore, an overzealous undercover NYPD officer, who has reportedly had four complaints made against him in a five month span, for use of excessive force.

While NYPD Police Commissioner and New York City’s Mayor Bill de Blasio  have issued apologies, the renegade cop, who has had four complaints lodged against him by the Civilian Complaints Review Board, has not. Meanwhile, Blake has made it clear that he wants more, particularly to ensure that Blacks who lack the resources and name recognition that he has, can also be assured of recourse when police run amok. In a statement Blake said:

“Extending courtesy to a public figure mistreated by the police is not enough,” Blake said he plans 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 this 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.”

Aug 28, 2013; New York, NY, USA; James Blake (USA) in his match against Ivo Karlovic (CRO) on day three of the 2013 US Open at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports

Aug 28, 2013; New York, NY, USA; James Blake (USA) in his match against Ivo Karlovic (CRO) on day three of the 2013 US Open at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports

Bratton quickly dismissed race as a motivating factor in the arrest, stating “I don’t think race was a factor. The rush to put a race tag on it, I’m sorry, that’s not involved in this at all.” But Blake, speaking to the New York Daily News on Wednesday, after the incident begged to differ.

“In my mind, three’s probably a race factor involved, but no matter what, there’s no reason for anybody to do that to anybody,” he said, explaining that he was standing in his hotel lobby after just finishing answering questions from a reporter and responding to text messages, when he saw the person in shorts running towards him. James said he smiled, thinking it was someone who he attended school with in the past.

Hot-headed NYPD Police Officer James Frasatore.

Hot-headed NYPD Police Officer James Frascatore.

For countless Black men and women across the country, police brutality, whether it’s illustrated by use of excessive force and false arrest as in Blake’s case, or unprovoked murder of unarmed citizens like Eric Garner and Sandra Bland, the pain and fear are real. Blake said when he was being held on the floor of the hotel lobby he said to the officer: “I will cooperate fully with you but do you mind telling me what this is all about, I think you have the wrong person,” but the discourteous, poorly trained officer told him to keep his mouth shout, to which Blake replied “I’m scared.”

It is a blessing that Blake was not murdered and that he lived to tell the tale, but for far too many African-Americans the outcome is a dead body and police officers covering up their dastardly deeds. In fact, Bratton said no report was filed about Blake’s arrest and that, as the commissioner, he learned of the incident by reading the Daily News.

James Blake tells his story to Robin Roberts on Thursday morning.

James Blake tells his story to Robin Roberts on Thursday morning.

Blake has vowed to speak out more about the issue, and, speaking to ABC’s Robin Roberts on Thursday, he said: “I’d like an explanation for how they conducted themselves because I think we all need to be held accountable for our actions, and police as well.”

It is hoped that Blake’s experience will result in meaningful police reforms, but it’s unlikely that much will change because the cycle has become all too predictable: police misconduct, public outcry, words are issued to placate the masses and then another person is assaulted or murdered while Blacks scream and ask: When will it stop?

In the meantime, Frascatore has been stripped of his badge and gun, and placed on desk duty. However, just from this incident alone it seems that kicking him off the force is the only practical solution. He is not a good representation of any police department and New York City certainly does not need another hot-headed, impulsive cop on the force as it tries to fight its well-earned reputation of being a cadre for racist, irresponsible and abusive police officers.–OnPointPress.net.–

 

Did Sandra Bland commit suicide or was she murdered by Texas police?

Sandra Bland

Sandra Bland, a graduate of Prairie View A& M University, an historically black college, was found dead in her jail cell in Waller County on Monday, July 13. Texas officials said she committed suicide but her friends and family say she would not take her own life because she had a lot to live for and was eager to start a new job at her alma mater.

By Carmen Glover

As questions continue to mount over the true cause of 28-year-old activist Sandra Bland’s death in Waller County, Texas, her family announced on Sunday, July 19 that they have requested an independent autopsy to get answers.

“We want to understand how it is that this all played out and what ultimately ended up being the real cause of her death,” said Cannon Lambert, Sr. the family’s attorney.

A video captured Sandra Bland's altercation with Texas police. In the video, a police officer is seen with his knees on her back.

A video captured Sandra Bland’s altercation with Texas police. In the video, a police officer is seen with his knees on her back.

The family is contesting the assertions by Texas officials who ruled her death ‘self-inflicted asphyxiation,” and insisted that Bland hanged herself with a plastic bag while she was held in jail on Monday, July 13. Texas officials pointed to a Facebook message posted by Bland in March 2015, during which she said:

“I’m going through something many of you might be experiencing, It’s a little bit of depression and PTSD.”

Bland did not state in the message whether or not she had been diagnosed by a licensed mental health official or whether she diagnosed herself.

Sandra Bland after she was arrested for failing to signal for a lane change.

Sandra Bland after she was arrested for failing to signal for a lane change.

As vigils and marches continue to express outrage about her death, one central question remains: Why does a motorist end up dead, in jail, for a routine traffic signal?

According to Texas officials, Bland kicked state trooper, Brian Encinia, 30, after he tried to pull her out of her when she failed to signal for a lane turn, on Friday, July 10. Encinia was put on desk duty on Friday, July 17, after an investigation concluded that he violated Texas Department of Public Safety protocols.

William Mitchell, 5, of Houston, holds a sign at a rally at the Waller County Jail in Hempstead, Texas, on Friday July 17, 2015, to protest the death of Sandra Bland, who was found dead in the jail. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

William Mitchell, 5, of Houston, holds a sign at a rally at the Waller County Jail in Hempstead, Texas, on Friday July 17, 2015, to protest the death of Sandra Bland, who was found dead in the jail. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

A video recording that allegedly captured Bland’s altercation with Encinia, showed the woman on the ground with the officer’s knees in her back as Bland raged at him shouting:

“For a traffic signal you shove me into the ground and everything?”

Bland’s older sister Sharon Cooper, said it’s unlikely that Bland committed suicide as the Texas police said, because she had recently moved back to Texas from her hometown of Chicago, to start a new job at her alma mater, Prairie View A&M, an historically black college from which Bland graduated in 2009.

Protests continue as family and community members seek answers about the exact cause of Sandra Bland's death.

Protests continue as family and community members seek answers about the exact cause of Sandra Bland’s death.

“Based on the Sandy I knew, this is unfathomable to me. I heard from her on Saturday and she said her bail was set at $5,000 so we were trying to put that together,” said Cooper, who explained that her sister complained that her hand and shoulder hurt due to what the police did to her. “We’re just trying to understand what happened.”

Meanwhile, Sigma Gamma Rho, Bland’s former sorority, released a statement expressing that they were “deeply saddened by the death of our sorority sister,” and Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis said, last week that:

“The death of Sandra Bland will not be swept under the rug. The truth will come out.”

With Bland’s family ordering an independent autopsy, it appears as if they are taking matters into their own hands to ensure that the truth, in fact, comes out.–OnPointPress.net

 

Riots, marches, illustrate raw pain, hurt, anger, against unpunished police brutality

People march to demand Justice for Michael Brown stand in solidarity with the people of Ferguson and demand police reform in Washington, DC, on October 4, 2014. AFP PHOTO/YURI GRIPAS        (Photo credit should read YURI GRIPAS/AFP/Getty Images)

People march to demand Justice for Michael Brown stand in solidarity with the people of Ferguson and demand police reform in Washington, DC, on October 4, 2014. AFP PHOTO/YURI GRIPAS (Photo credit should read YURI GRIPAS/AFP/Getty Images)

As  smug, relaxed and self satisfied- looking Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson gave his first television network interview to ABC, riots continued unchecked in Ferguson, Missouri, despite additional National Guard members who were summoned by Governor Jay Nixon to restore order. Meanwhile marches proceeded unabated across the United States as citizens protested unpunished police brutality against Black and Latino men.

Marchers in Union Square, New York.

Marchers in Union Square, New York.

The psyche in predominantly African-American and Latino communities is raw with pain, anguish, hurt and explosive anger that yet another police officer has gone unpunished after taking the life of one more unarmed African-American male. As Wilson describes it, Michael Brown, appeared to him like “Hulk” who was “intent on” harming or even killing Wilson requiring him to shoot multiple times until he was certain that Brown was dead. Wilson expressed no remorse and suggested that he did what his training dictated.

Rioters in Ferguson, Missouri.

Rioters in Ferguson, Missouri.

When St Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch announced on Monday night that there was “no reasonable cause to prosecute Officer Wilson” in Brown’s murder, he then put on a spirited defense of Wilson while doing everything he could to denigrate Brown’s reputation, trash the witnesses who disputed Wilson’s version of events, and insult journalists for doing their jobs.

The National Guard has been deployed in Ferguson to restore order as people riot to express their anger in the face of another case of unpunished police brutality.

The National Guard has been deployed in Ferguson to restore order as people riot to express their anger in the face of another case of unpunished police brutality.

As marchers continue to take to the streets, their message is universal: the incidence of police brutality against Blacks and Latinos must stop. People are tired of feeling helpless, tired of losing their sons, brothers, spouses, relatives and friends at the hands of police officers who are racist, afraid, lawless and who have nothing but contempt for the lives that they are charged to protect.–OnPointPress.net.

New York’s anti-police brutality march highlights national plight

Marchers voice anger against police brutality.
Marchers voice anger against police brutality.

According to estimates, more than 4,000 demonstrators marched peacefully on Staten Island in New York on Saturday, August 23 to seek justice for victims of police brutality across the nation. The marchers gathered early, many arriving via buses, eager to voice their displeasure against the national scourge of police brutality that disproportionately targets African-American and Latino males, many of whom are unarmed.

Protesters march in Staten Island while police provide security.
Protesters march in Staten Island while police provide security.

Shouting various slogans to honor the memories of specific victims, the marchers expressed themselves in an orderly manner, with the full support of police officers and honorary marshals who kept the crowd controlled. “I can’t breathe,” some yelled, shouting the last words heard being uttered by Eric Garner, the Staten Islander who was killed when police officers subjected him to an illegal chokehold.

Marchers share their anti-police brutality messages in New York on Saturday, August 23.
Marchers share their anti-police brutality messages in New York on Saturday, August 23.

“Hands up, Don’t shoot,” others shouted, in honor of unarmed teenager Michael Brown, whose murder at the hands of police in Ferguson, Missouri, has roiled the nation for two weeks with Ferguson only returning to a period of calm after the visit and public support from U.S Attorney General Eric Holder, who shared his “humiliation” at being targeted by police in the past due to his skin color.

March against police brutality.
March against police brutality.

The New York march was an important reminder that a united response is required in order to consistently attack police brutality. The date for the march was symbolic as well. Organized by Garner’s family and the Reverend Al. Sharpton, the march occurred exactly 25 years after African-American teenager Yusuf Hawkins was brutally beaten with bats and murdered by a mob of white young adults in Bensonhurst. Despite the time that has elapsed since Hawkins’ murder, black men and boys continue to be unjustly targeted by police officers and other segments of society for harsh treatment, often leading to death. Marching, organizing and coordinating efforts for change are vital tools that must be utilized consistently to address this attack on black life.–OnPointPress.net

The Justice Dept needs to take over the investigation and prosecution in Ferguson

Attorney General Eric Holder has been involved in the Ferguson Police investigation so far.

Attorney General Eric Holder has been involved in the Ferguson Police investigation so far.

After a brief moment of calm, Ferguson continues to be roiled by ongoing unrest as law enforcement officials clash with protestors who are angry that no charges have been filed or arrest made of Darren Wilson, the police officer who executed unarmed teenage Michael Brown. With emotions on edge, and tensions raw, Missouri Governor Ray Nixon called in the National Guard and schools remain closed today. The impasse between the citizens in Ferguson and law enforcement officials show no signs of abating any time soon.

‎Speaking to MSNBC on Friday, August 15, St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay described St.Louis prosecutor Bob McCulloch as “out of order” and ill-advised for lashing out at Governor Jay Nixon’s decision to place the Missouri Highway Patrol in charge of security.

Mayor Slay was accurate in his assessment of the St. Louis prosecutor, who characterized the governor’s action in placing Captain Ronald Johnson in charge of security as “illegal.”

More frenzy occurred at night as citizens and law enforcement remain at odds.

More frenzy occurred at night as citizens and law enforcement remain at odds.

But apart from the St Louis prosecutor putting his foot in his mouth with his irresponsible statements, his sentiments raise a far more serious question : Can a prosecutor who espouses such bias fairly seek justice for Michael Brown, the unarmed teenager who was murdered by police officer Darren Wilson?

Tear gas has been used on multiple occasions to disperse crowds; unruly or not.

Tear gas has been used on multiple occasions to disperse crowds; unruly or not.

It is clear that the prosecutor is incapable of being neutral in this matter therefore it is incumbent on US Attorney General Eric Holder to immediately seize control of the investigation and entrust the prosecution of this case to legal minds in his office. Judging from the chaotic and inconsistent statements provided by St. Louis Police chief Jay Belmar when be identified the murderous cop, who has allegedly fled town, it is unlikely that ‎any form of Justice will emerge in this case unless the prosecution is conducted by a special prosecutor or the Department of Justice itself. Regardless of the option that is ultimately chosen it is clear that outside intervention is necessary in order for Btown’s family to obtain justice. –OnPointPress.net.

After US Attorney General issues statement MI Gov places highway patrol in charge of security

US Attorney General Eric Holder issues statement on Unrest in Ferguson , prompting MI Governor to place the Missouri Highway Patrol in charge of security.

US Attorney General Eric Holder issues statement on Unrest in Ferguson , prompting MI Governor to place the Missouri Highway Patrol in charge of security.

US Attorney General Eric Holder released a statement about the protests in Ferguson, Missouri. Read the full statement below:

“This morning, I met with President Obama to discuss the events in Ferguson, Missouri. Like the President, I extend my heartfelt condolences to the family of Michael Brown. While his death has understandably caused heartache within the community, it is clear that the scenes playing out in the streets of Ferguson over the last several nights cannot continue.

For one thing, while the vast majority of protests have been peaceful, acts of violence by members of the public cannot be condoned. Looting and willful efforts to antagonize law enforcement officers who are genuinely trying to protect the public do nothing to remember the young man who has died. Such conduct is unacceptable and must be unequivocally condemned.

By the same token, the law enforcement response to these demonstrations must seek to reduce tensions, not heighten them. Those who peacefully gather to express sympathy for the family of Michael Brown must have their rights respected at all times. And journalists must not be harassed or prevented from covering a story that needs to be told.

At a time when we must seek to rebuild trust between law enforcement and the local community, I am deeply concerned that the deployment of military equipment and vehicles sends a conflicting message. At my direction, Department officials have conveyed these concerns to local authorities. Also at my direction, the Department is offering – through our COPS office and Office of Justice Programs – technical assistance to local authorities in order to help conduct crowd control and maintain public safety without relying on unnecessarily extreme displays of force. The local authorities in Missouri have accepted this offer of assistance as of this afternoon.

Department officials from the Community Relations Service are also on the ground in Missouri to help convene law enforcement officials and civic and faith leaders to plot out steps to reduce tensions in the community. The latest such meeting was convened in Ferguson as recently as this morning. Over time, these conversations should consider the role that increased diversity in law enforcement can play in helping to build trust within communities.

All the while, the federal civil rights investigation into the shooting incident itself continues, in parallel with the local investigation into state law violations. Our investigators from the Civil Rights Division and U.S. attorney’s office in Missouri have already conducted interviews with eyewitnesses on the scene at the time of the shooting incident on Saturday. Our review will take time to conduct, but it will be thorough and fair.”-OnPointPress.net

President Obama defends journalists’ rights to work freely in Ferguson, MI

St. Louis and Ferguson Police fired tear gas at crowds to disperse protesters.

St. Louis and Ferguson Police fired tear gas at crowds to disperse protesters.

By Carmen Glover

President Barack Obama took a break from his vacation on Martha’s Vineyard to address the nation regarding the turmoil in Ferguson, Missouri and defend the rights of journalists to work.

“Here in the United States of America, police should not be bullying or arresting journalists who are just trying to do their job,” President Obama said’ defending journalists’ First Amendment rights in reference to the stunning images and reports of journalists being manhandled, harassed and arrested, while reporting on the shooting death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown by an unnamed police officer on Saturday, August 9.

President Obama issues statement about the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri following the shooting death of Michael Brown.

President Obama issues statement about the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri following the shooting death of Michael Brown.

“I know that many Americans have been deeply disturbed by the images they have seen from the heartland of the country,” President Obama said.”I have already tasked the Justice Department and the FBI to investigate. I made it clear to the US Attorney General to investigate exactly what happened. It’s important to remember how this happened. We lost a young man, Michael Brown under tragic circumstances.”

St. Louis and Ferguson police officers in riot gear face off against protestors and journalists.

St. Louis and Ferguson police officers in riot gear face off against protestors and journalists.

While the president supported protesters’ rights to peacefully assemble he made it clear that violence toward or by the police was unacceptable. “There is never an excuse for violence against police,” he said. “Now is the time for transparency to see that justice is done. Now is the time for peace.”-OnPointPress.net

President Obama addresses Michael Brown’s murder; police kill more black males in MI, LA

President Obama

President Barack Obama releases belated statement on Michael  Brown’s murder in Ferguson, Missouri.

By Carmen Glover

On Tuesday, August 12, US President Barack Obama issued the following statement regarding the police execution of unarmed 18-year-old college-bound male Michael Brown, a resident of Ferguson, a suburb in St. Louis Missouri:

“The death of Michael Brown is heartbreaking, and Michelle and I send our deepest condolences to his family and his community at this very difficult time. As Attorney General Holder has indicated, the Department of Justice is investigating the situation along with local officials, and they will continue to direct resources to the case as needed. I know the events of the past few days have prompted strong passions, but as details unfold, I urge everyone in Ferguson, Missouri, and across the country, to remember this young man through reflection and understanding. We should comfort each other and talk with one another in a way that heals, not in a way that wounds. Along with our prayers, that’s what Michael and his family, and our broader American community, deserve.”

Unarmed teenager Michael Brown was executed by police.

Unarmed teenager Michael Brown was executed by police.

President Obama came under fire by angry citizens who roundly criticized him for speaking out immediately after news broke that actor Robin Williams committed suicide in his California home‎ but remaining silent about the brutal murder of the unarmed African-American teenager. Brown was killed on the afternoon of Saturday, August 9 while Williams’ suicide was announced on Monday, August 11.

Eric Holder

US Attorney General Eric Holder’s office is investigating the murder.

President Obama’s statement came three days after Brown’s murder, as anger has exploded into ongoing protests, clashes with police officers in Ferguson and refusal by the St. Louis police department to reveal the name of the officer who murdered Brown, as previously promised. In the meantime, various reports have indicated that another black male was shot and killed in St. Louis overnight, a black woman was shot in the head and an unarmed black male was shot and killed in Los Angeles by police.

protest

The murders and shootings have riled up the psyches of African-Americans across the country and has garnered international attention as the open season on black males seem to continue unabated. -OnPointPress.net.

FBI, Justice Department, now involved in Missouri murder probe

Unarmed 18-year-old teenager Michael Brown was murdered in Ferguson, Missouri on Saturday, August, sparking uproar and riots.

Unarmed 18-year-old teenager Michael Brown was murdered in Ferguson, Missouri on Saturday, August 9, sparking uproar and riots.

The announcement by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and the US Department of Justice on Monday, August 11 that they will be involved in probing and oversight following the murder of unarmed teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, is welcome news.

US Attorney General Eric Holder said the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division will monitor the situation.

US Attorney General Eric Holder said the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division will monitor the situation.

The FBI announced that they will take over the investigation while, US Attorney General said he has instructed the civil rights ‎division to “monitor” the situation. The feedback was provided after peaceful protests devolved into looting and rioting on Sunday, August 10. The police officer who allegedly pumped 10 bullets into Brown’s back has been placed on “paid administrative leave,” according to the St. Louis Police Department but no information was provided about his identity .

St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar addressing the media regarding murder of unarmed teenager Michael Brown.

St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar addressing the media regarding murder of unarmed teenager Michael Brown.

Missouri Police Chief. Jon Balmar said the investigation is “complicated” while stating that he agreed with the FBI’s involvement. ‎Meanwhile, MSNBC reported that she Rev. Al Sharpton would be meeting with Brown’s family and that the local NAACP will convene a community event.

Protestors initially demonstrated peacefully before some resorted to rioting and looting.

Protestors initially demonstrated peacefully before some resorted to rioting and looting.

Brown’s murder represents another addition to the exhaustive list of Black males who are executed in the United States with impunity, often at the hands of the police or overzealous vigilantes such as George Zimmerman’s murder of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin in Florida, a crime foe which Zimmerman escaped punishment; and the recent murder of unarmed father and grandfather Eric Garner in New York, whose life was squeezed from him with an illegal chokehold‎ administered by police officers. EMTs failed to provide help when they arrived at the scene.

 Lesley McSpadden, (l) is consoled by her husband, Louis Head (r ), after her son, Michael Brown was shot and killed by police. Brown's parents join a long line of African-Americans forced to mourn the death of a child at the hands of police.


Lesley McSpadden, (l) is consoled by her husband, Louis Head (r ), after her son, Michael Brown was shot and killed by police. Brown’s parents join a long line of African-Americans forced to mourn the death of a child at the hands of police.

Brown’s death causes simmering anger to explode in the Black community as the war on black males continues unchecked. But looting and rioting is not the answer. Who benefits from such disorganized and unlawful actions? Certainly not the affected families.

With the FBI and Justice Department taking an active role in probing all the details of what happened to Brown, it’s important for peaceful protests to continue, but cooler heads need to prevail because rioting and looting are foolish distractions which will impede, rather than advance the quest for justice.-OnPointPress.net-