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Complaint Review Board: Officer Used Excessive Force Against James Blake

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The Civilian Complaint Review Board has recommended discipline against the officer who tackled and arrested tennis icon James Blake last month.

The CCRB confirmed to CBS2 that it returned its findings Wednesday, substantiating an excessive use of force claim against Officer James Frascatore. The board recommended discipline against Frascatore, as well as against the sergeant who ordered Blake's arrest.

The NYPD told CBS2 it has been made aware of the CCRB's findings, and the internal department review is still ongoing.

In the arrest video released by the NYPD, Blake was seen standing in a blue shirt outside the Grand Hyatt Hotel on Wednesday, Sept. 9, when an undercover officer in plain blue clothes ran up to him, pulled him to the ground, and secured his hands behind his back to handcuff him.

The officer, Frascatore, is part of the department's Financial Crimes Task Force. The NYPD mistook Blake for what they thought was a known suspect.

It was only after a retired NYPD detective nearby happened to recognize Blake and identified him that he was let go.

Blake released a statement expressing appreciation to the CCRB, following what he called the incident in which he was "attacked."

"It is my understanding that these officers now face an administrative trial for their roles in the respective offenses," Blake said in the statement. "I have complete respect for the principle of due process and appreciate the efforts of the CCRB to advance this investigation."

Patrolmen's Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch repeated his earlier defenses of Fracastore, and slammed the CCRB as a "cop-hating branch of the New York Civil Liberties Union."

"Clearly the officer did not strike the individual or seek to harm him in any way. He used an acceptable technique to gain compliance during a complex ongoing operation in a manner that did not compromise the simultaneous arrest being made a short distance away," Lynch said in a statement. "An objective review of these facts will vindicate the officers involved."

At the time that Blake was arrested, police said members of a financial crimes task force were at the hotel investigating $18,000 in fraudulent credit card purchases from an online shopping delivery service.

Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said a courier making a delivery mistakenly identified Blake as a suspect who he had delivered to in the past.

Frascatore, a four-year veteran of the force, was placed on desk duty following the incident. The NYPD confirmed he has had several complaints filed against him in his time with the department.

Blake had said Frascatore should lose his job.

Blake, who had been ranked as high as No. 4 in the world and reached three Grand Slam quarterfinals, retired after the 2013 U.S. Open.

He won 10 singles titles, most recently in 2007. Twice he reached the quarterfinals at the U.S. Open, a hometown tournament that seemed to bring out his best play.

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