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James Blake: NYPD officer who tackled me should be fired, doesn't deserve badge

The NYPD released video footage of retired tennis

The NYPD released video footage of retired tennis star James Blake being thrown to the ground and handcuffed by an undercover officer outside a Manhattan hotel in a case of mistaken identity. Credit: NYPD

The NYPD officer who officials say wrongly body-slammed retired tennis pro James Blake should be fired, the athlete said Saturday.

Blake was tackled Wednesday by Police Officer James Frascatore outside midtown Manhattan's Grand Hyatt hotel when a team of cops mistook the former tennis star for an identity thief.

"I don't think he deserves to have a badge," Blake said during a series of interviews with media outlets Saturday. "I hope he can never do that to anyone else and get away with it. I hope he can never do that again under the shield of the New York Police Department."

Blake said of Frascatore: "He doesn't deserve to have the same title as officers who are doing good work and are really helping keep the rest of the city safe."

Frascatore, 38, of Oceanside, has a history of excessive-force lawsuits and civilian complaints. He hasn't been reachable for comment.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner William Bratton have apologized to Blake for the officer's behavior.

Bratton said the suspect being pursued in the identity-theft case that led to Blake's mistaken arrest resembled the tennis pro.

Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, has defended Frascatore in pursuing a man he thought was a criminal; Lynch said he did "a professional job of bringing the individual to the ground." The PBA declined to comment further Saturday.

When asked about Blake's demand, an NYPD spokesman, Sgt. Carlos Nieves, said in an email that "there is currently an ongoing Internal Affairs Bureau investigation into the September 9th incident involving Mr. James Blake."

In the meantime, Frascatore's shield and gun have been taken from him and he's on modified assignment.

The New York Post, citing unnamed sources, said Frascatore gave an account in which he claims he identified himself as a cop during the takedown, shouting "Police! Don't move!"

Blake said that was false.

A surveillance video of the arrest shows Blake standing relaxed when the officer later identified as Frascatore rushes up and wrestles him to the ground.

"Yes. I'm not mincing words here," Blake said when asked if Frascatore wasn't telling the truth. "In my opinion he should never have a badge again because I think it's people like him that give the entire force a bad name."

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, speaking at an unrelated event, wouldn't say whether he thinks Frascatore should be fired.

"I'll leave it to the NYPD to come up with the appropriate discipline.

"There is no doubt that Mr. Blake was wrongly treated. It was very disturbing to see that video, to say the least . . . I think he deserved an apology from the mayor and from the police commissioner."

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