Video surveillance of the mistaken arrest of James Blake shows a plainclothes officer with a history of complaints tackling the former tennis star to the ground.
Officer James Frascatore’s rough arrest of Blake outside a midtown Manhattan hotel on Wednesday prompted apologies from New York City’s mayor and police commissioner.
Frascatore was the subject of four civilian complaints in a seven-month period of 2013, and has been named in two civil rights lawsuits as being among a group of officers accused of beating, pepper spraying and falsely arresting two Queens men in separate incidents.
The footage shows Blake standing against a post outside the Grand Hyatt New York when Frascatore approaches suddenly, grabs Blake, spins him around and throws him to the ground.
Stephen Davis, the NYPD’s top spokesman, released the video on Friday and said Blake was interviewed by internal affairs detectives on Thursday night.
Frascatore has four years on the force and previously worked as a police officer in Florida.
One of the complaints was exonerated, another dismissed, a third – for refusing to identify himself – was substantiated and the status of the fourth is unclear.
In a statement, Blake said “while I continue to believe the vast majority of our police officers are dedicated public servants who conduct themselves appropriately, I know that what happened to me is not uncommon”.
Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner William Bratton said in a statement the city “extends deepest apologies to Mr Blake” and both the mayor and police commissioner “stand ready” to meet with Blake.
“The incident remains under investigation to determine what contributed to the errors made, who may be held accountable and what we can learn to prevent these mistakes from being repeated,” they said.
Bratton said earlier on Friday investigators were reviewing the officer’s disciplinary record “understanding that some of those issues were exonerated”.
A number listed for Frascatore, 38, wasn’t in service on Friday.
Patrick J. Lynch, head of the police officer’s union, said the officer was apprehending “what he had every reason to believe was an individual who had just committed a crime”.
He said he regrets any embarrassment or injury suffered by Blake but the apprehension was made “under fluid circumstances where the subject might have fled and the officer did a professional job of bringing the individual to the ground”.
Frascatore’s four complaints to the Civilian Complaint Review Board, which investigates claims of police misconduct, are more than average for an officer.
Three-fourths of the department has two or fewer complaints against them.
Blake, 38, was arrested after he was misidentified as being involved in a credit card fraud scheme that was using the hotel for deliveries.
He had been ranked as high as No. 4 in the world and reached three Grand Slam quarterfinals.