One day after a police union boss accused civilians of attacking cops over the wrongful arrest video of former tennis pro James Blake, a pair of City Council members renewed calls for the arresting officer’s firing.
The now viral video showing Officer James Frascatore take down an unsuspecting Blake in front of a midtown Manhattan hotel shows the officer acting as sole judge and jury, argued Bronx Councilman Andy King.
King, co-chair of the council’s Black, Asian and Latino caucus, said that NYPD top brass’ continued promises of better training isn’t enough.
“If you have officers who can’t do it right, not everyone is cut out for the job,” King said, calling on Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton to fire Frascatore.
Asked by Metro about whether the plainclothes cop deserves due process, King — who was joined by Brooklyn Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo — said he and other people of color rely on it to make sure they’re respected and treated fairly.
But due process, King added, appears to work differently for police.
“We won’t even know what those conversations are or what’s going on in ‘due process,'” the councilman said. “The officer still gets to walk the street with their pension while we’re sitting back angry because our children were shot and killed, or our young men got flipped upside down on the floor.”
Frascatore was put on desk duty soon after the arrest.
King also set his sights on Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Pat Lynch, who on Tuesday released an open letter accusing police critics of being “arm-chair judges.”
Lynch wrote it was “mystifying to all police officers” that some would conclude an officer’s actions were inappropriate “based upon nothing but a silent video.”
“That is irresponsible, unjust and un-American,” Lynch wrote. “Worse than that, your uninformed rhetoric is inflammatory and only serves to worsen police/community relations.”
Local activist Patricia Patterson noted that Blake’s celebrity status earns headlines that many New Yorkers of color never will.
“We’ve got brothers in the hood not standing in front of the Grand Hyatt, people standing in front of projects where police are coming by doing this day in and day out.”
Blake was incorrectly arrested on Sept. 9 after a tipster pointed cops toward the tennis pro as a suspect in a credit card fraud scheme.
On Wednesday, the New York Daily News reported that the mugshot Frascatore and six other officers used to wrongfully identify Blake wasn’t even of the suspect they were looking for but rather an unrealted Australian man.