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