Officer James Frascatore Who Body-Slammed James Blake in Mistaken Arrest Files Defamation Lawsuit

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James Blake - Image via Sports Illustrated

In 2015, an undercover NYPD officer slammed Ex-Tennis Pro James Blake to the ground outside a Manhattan hotel. Initially, Blake filed a claim against the city but the two parties came to an agreement earlier this year.

Case closed, right?

Wrong…

The NYPD officer responsible for slamming Blake to the ground plans to file a lawsuit of his own against Blake and the department.  Officer James Frascatore told the New York Post that if he were in the same situation again, he would do things the exact same way.

“People need to realize that, with the information I had at the time and the circumstances that presented themselves, it was the right call,” Frascatore said.

“I have a family to go home to. I’m on a crowded sidewalk, with a possibly armed suspect in the middle of 42nd Street,’’ the cop said. “You have to take control of the situation. I can’t just be pulling out my gun.”

As a reminder, Frascatore jumped Blake because someone falsely identified the athlete as a suspect in a sting operation. While peacefully waiting on his car service, Blake was mistaken for a thief who used fake credit cards to purchase $3000.00 worth of designer shoes.

When he realized his mistake, he took the handcuffs off Blake and apologized, the cop said. Frascatore, 40, is currently on modified duty. Since the takedown, Frascatore said his life has been a living hell.

Earlier this year, James Blake co-authored a book titled “Ways of Grace,’’ that details the incident. Frascatore claims that the book portrays him as a “racist goon’’  and throws him under the bus. Frascatore said he bought the book and became “very angry and upset while reading it.”

Although Frascatore believes he was simply doing his job, Blake and CCRB prosecutors blame him for the bad bust. At Frascatore’s recent administrative trial, CCRB prosecutor Jonathan Fogel said Frascatore tackled Blake “like an NFL linebacker’’

Frascatore’s suit names as defendants Blake; the city; the NYPD; Civilian Complaint Review Board Director Tracy Catapano-Fox; and HarperCollins Publishers, which released the former tennis player’s book. He plans to sue for emotional distress and slander.

What is defamation?

Essentially, defamation occurs when a person or group publishes or says, something bad about another person or group.

There are two types of defamation.  Written statements are considered libel and verbal statements are considered slander.

In a defamation case, the plaintiff must prove four elements:

1. The statement was false.
2. The victim was injured by the statement.
3. The statement was made to a third person or lots of people.
4. The defamatory statement was not confidential.

Per the New York Times, The Civilian Complaint Review Board investigated the charge of excessive force and recommended the harshest punishment possible for Frascatore:  Departmental charges that could lead to suspension or dismissal.  Frascatore also has a history of complaints of police brutality towards Black Men.

He may have an uphill battle proving his intentions, thus making a defamation case tricky.  His best bet is to get Blake and the other defendants to settle.

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