James Blake speaks out about NYPD takedown arrest

James Blake was arrested by a plainclothes officer on Sept. 9. 2015. He was later released.
NYPD

Last Updated Sep 12, 2015 9:45 PM EDT

NEW YORK -- Former tennis star James Blake, whose caught-on-camera takedown by a plainclothes New York City police officer prompted apologies from the mayor and police commissioner, told CBS News on Saturday that the officer who wrongly arrested him should be fired.

"He had his opportunity to have a badge and I don't think he should have it anymore," Blake, 38, said a day after surveillance video of the arrest outside a Manhattan hotel - and details about previous complaints over the officer's use of force - became public.

Blake, who had been ranked as high as No. 4 in the world before retiring after the 2013 U.S. Open, was misidentified by a cooperating witness as being part of a scheme to sell fraudulently purchased merchandise when he was tackled, police have said.

The arresting officer, James Frascatore, who has been with the NYPD for four years, has been named in several civil rights lawsuits alleging excessive force. He has also been the subject of four civilian complaints - an above-average number for NYPD officers, according to complaint data.

"I think that that kind of police officer tarnishes the badge, which I have the utmost respect for and I believe that the majority of police officers do great work and they're heroes," Blake told the Associated Press. "So this person doesn't ever belong in the same sentence with the heroes that are doing the right kind of police work and keeping the public safe."

In a statement Friday, Blake said that Frascatore did not identify himself as a police officer when he accosted him on the sidewalk, nor did he ask Blake for his name.

Former tennis player James Blake acknowledges the crowd during the match between Roger Federer of Switzerland and Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland on day 12 of the 2015 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York.
Former tennis player James Blake acknowledges the crowd during the match between Roger Federer of Switzerland and Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland on day 12 of the 2015 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York.
Robert Deutsch-USA Today Sports

A message left at a number listed for Frascatore, 38, wasn't immediately returned. Officials have said he was exonerated of one civilian complaint, a second was unsubstantiated and he was sanctioned for not identifying himself in a third. The status of the fourth complaint was unclear.

A spokesman for his union did not return a message seeking comment Saturday. But on Friday, Patrolmen's Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch said Blake's arrest 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 has been placed on desk duty while internal affairs detectives continue their investigation. At issue is not only Blake's takedown but whether the use-of-force wasn't properly reported up the chain of command - leaving police brass to learn of it only after Blake spoke to the media.

But determining what discipline, if any, Frascatore could receive won't happen any time soon.

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James Blake was arrested by a plainclothes officer on Sept. 9. 2015. He was later released.
NYPD

Depending on the results of an internal investigation, he could face departmental charges. If Frascatore chooses to fight those charges, he would do so in a departmental trial where he could face potential punishments ranging from a loss of vacation days to performance monitoring or other disciplinary actions.

Commissioner William Bratton, who earlier this week apologized personally to Blake, ultimately will decide Frascatore's fate.

A police spokesman declined to comment on Blake's remarks, saying the internal investigation is ongoing.

Blake said Saturday he was appreciative of Bratton and Mayor Bill de Blasio's apologies, as well as their invitations to discuss further policing issues, including the use of body cameras, training and ways to ensure more accountability.

But he also said he hoped others who have been wrongly arrested or mistreated by officers would receive the same treatment.

"I'm sure this isn't the first time police brutality has happened and I'm sure it's not the last time," he said. "So I want them to apologize to the people that this happens to that don't have the same voice that I have."