UNITED STATES—Have you heard about the incident involving tennis star James Blake and the New York Police Officer who tackled him suspecting that he was a suspect in a crime? Yeah, you probably have and it raises a ton of questions once again whether some police officers are abusing their powers. I’ve seen countless outlets posting pics of James and the suspect who looks eerily similar, but at the same time it becomes apparent there are differences between the two.
The officer in question is James Frascatore, who for those who have seen the video footage, literally tackled Blake who was waiting outside a New York hotel to depart. My biggest gripe is the officer doesn’t even question Blake to begin with to ensure that he is indeed apprehending the right suspect. I could possibly understand tackling him if he had a weapon in his hand and imminent danger could have been present, but that wasn’t the case. The officer saw a guy who he THOUGHT resembled another man and just determined the guy he was looking at was responsible for a fraudulent credit card ring.
I can’t even imagine putting myself in Blake’s shoes, but as an African-American male, it’s not hard to fathom being profiled because of your skin color. And to be honest, this is precisely what I suspect happened here. Frascatore was not dressed in his uniform and never identified himself as a police officer, which I find to be another issue. What makes the situation even worse is the fact that Frascatore has been accused of using excessive force in the past. This means this individual who happens to be a reflection of the police force is utilizing his power in a way that has raised questions not only about his professionalism, but whether he is treating people fairly.
I hate to say this, but where would this world be without the advancement of technology? It appears a phone or a video camera is the most powerful thing as evidence nowadays, especially cases where the circumstances of police brutality comes front and center. It’s almost a blessing that so many people have phones and with the explosion of social media are able to upload all sorts of crazy things in a matter of minutes. Yes, capture something crazy and post online for the rest of the world to consume over and over and over again.
The officer in question has been placed on desk duty while the incident is being further investigated, but where the hell is the apology? Why are the Mayor of New York and the NYPD issuing statements apologizing for one person’s ignorant actions? I think the officer should man up and publicly apologize for his actions. He falsely accused, tackled and arrested a man who was not guilty of anything. Hey, you made the mistake, not your employers, not the city of New York; you should be responsible for atoning and acknowledging your bad behavior.
What worries me the most is how many more incidents Frascatore has been involved in where he has used excessive force to prove a point or to get his way? This only further increases the demand of body cameras for officers. I want to believe that this will significantly cut down on the number of incidents where issues of police brutality have been raised over and over again in major metropolitan cities across the United States.
It sucks because there are so many phenomenal police officers out there, but all it takes is one idiot to bring back to the attention of Americans the notion that the police can’t be trusted or that they abuse their power. This is a direct message to Frascatore: man up and apologize to James Blake! You made a mistake, you need to own it and prove to the rest of America that you’re not the monster that everyone is making you out to be, the longer you allow others to fight your battles, the more evident it becomes you are guilty of doing something that should have never transpired to begin with.