NEW YORK — Video surveillance released Friday of the mistaken arrest of former tennis star James Blake shows a plainclothes police officer who has a history of excessive-force complaints grabbing Blake by the arm and tackling him to the ground.
Officer James Frascatore’s rough arrest of the hometown favorite 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 he has been named in two federal civil rights lawsuits as being among a group of officers accused of beating, pepper spraying and falsely arresting two Queens men in separate incidents that year.
Stephen Davis, the NYPD’s top spokesman, released the video Friday and said Blake was interviewed by internal affairs detectives Thursday night.
Frascatore, who has four years on the force and previously worked as a police officer in Florida, was the officer who arrested Blake, a law enforcement official confirmed Friday. The official was not authorized to publicly discuss the case and spoke on condition of anonymity.
The official said one of the complaints was exonerated, another dismissed, a third — for refusing to identify himself — was substantiated, and the status of the fourth was unclear.
In a statement, Blake said that “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.”
Police Commissioner William Bratton said earlier Friday investigators were reviewing the officer’s disciplinary record “understanding that some of those issues were exonerated.” He didn’t elaborate.
A number listed for Frascatore, 38, wasn’t in service Friday and a spokesman for his union declined to comment on the claims.
On Thursday, Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, said in a statement there shouldn’t be a rush to judgment before an internal investigation is complete.
“No police officer should ever face punitive action before a complete review of the facts,” he said.
Blake, 38, was arrested after he was misidentified as being involved in a fraudulent credit card scheme that was using the hotel for deliveries, police have said.
Blake had been ranked as high as No. 4 in the world and reached three Grand Slam quarterfinals. Before retiring after the 2013 U.S. Open, he won 10 singles titles, most recently in 2007.
Thumbnail photo via Twitter/@sportingnews