James Blake claim against NYPD for excessive use of force substantiated by CCRB

Blake was tackled and handcuffed by a plainclothes officer.

The NYPD’s use of force was deemed by the Civilian Complaint Review Board Wednesday to be “excessive” against former tennis star James Blake, according to the city agency.

Blake, 35, was tackled and handcuffed by a plainclothes officer on Sept. 9 in front the Grand Hyatt hotel in midtown after he was mistaken for a suspect in an identity-theft investigation. Blake was in town for the U.S. Open..

“I want to express my appreciation to the Civilian Complaint Review Board for their quick and thorough review of the incident during which I was attacked on September 9, 2015,” Blake said in a statement. “I have complete respect for the principle of due process and appreciate the efforts of the CCRB to advance this investigation.”

In its decision, the CCRB substantiated an excessive force claim against Officer James Frascatore and an abuse of authority claim against Detective Daniel Herzog, according to disposition letter sent to Blake’s attorney Wednesday.

The recommended punishment for Frascatore was “Charges” — the most severe penalty — and can include any form of discipline up to termination, according to the disposition letter. For Herzog, the agency recommended a loss of up to five vacation days.

Frascatore faces an internal NYPD trial, but all decisions on discipline are ultimately left up to the police commissioner.

Mina Malik, the CCRB’s executive director, said the complaint fell into the category of cases that can be “expedited” and “resolved quickly”.

“Our commitment remains to be a fair and vigilant resource for all people who have complaints about police misconduct,” Malik said in a statement, “and to judge the cases based on thorough, even-handed investigations which serve the public and officers alike.”

A day after the incident, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton apologized to Blake, noting Blake’s desire to meet with the department’s Internal Affairs Bureau. Two days after Blake was tackled, Mayor Bill de Blasio issued a second joint apology with Bratton.


In the weeks since, Bratton has reiterated the department’s efforts to improve its early warning system and released new use of force guidelines.

Alison Fox