Despite the NYPD's best efforts to keep officer James Frascatore's punishment secret, the department's chosen penalty for the cop who tackled and wrongfully detained former tennis star James Blake in 2015 has been revealed: He lost five vacation days.
Sources tell the Daily News that the punishment was handed down by Police Commissioner James O'Neill in February, after Frascatore was found guilty in a departmental trial of using excessive force against the tennis pro. The decision to dock five of his vacation days came more than two and a half years after the incident, in which Frascatore tackled Blake outside the Grand Hyatt Hotel, slamming him into the ground and handcuffing him, before realizing he had the wrong guy.
"The lack of meaningful discipline for the NYPD officer found guilty of using excessive force against me, while I was simply waiting outside of my hotel, is indicative of a broken disciplinary system," Blake said in a statement released on Friday. "Officer Frascatore had a record of misconduct complaints for the abusive treatment of civilians before he body-slammed me—it was reported that he had five civilian complaints within seven months of 2013. Losing a few vacation days for the use of excessive force, following a history of repeated civilian complaints, is not meaningful discipline."
Blake continued, "It is this continued failure of the NYPD’s disciplinary system that perpetuates police abuses, brutality and misconduct, and leads to the unjust killings of civilians. Until the de Blasio administration addresses the dysfunction in police accountability and transparency, the problems of abusive policing will remain."
Last year, Blake agreed to drop his excessive-force claim against the city, in exchange for the creation of a Civilian Complaint Review Board fellowship in hisname—a decision that some police reform advocates criticized. Frascatore was expected to avoid a trial as part of that deal, but ultimately decided not to accept the offer on the grounds that Blake hadn't adequately demonstrated that he'd given up his right to sue Frascatore in the future.
Lawyers with the city's Civilian Complaint Review Board recommended that Frascatore lose 10 vacation days. That board, which only has the authority to make nonbinding decisions, is frequently overruled by the NYPD commissioner. The CCRB did not respond to a request for comment on the department's decision.
Attempts to reach Frascatore, and to learn what he plans to do with that extra week of vacation, were also unsuccessful.