Former tennis star James Blake went on a media tour on Saturday, talking to numerous outlets about how the plainclothes police officer who body-slammed him outside a New York City hotel should be fired. “I want him to know what he did was wrong, and that in my opinion he doesn’t deserve to ever have a badge and a gun again, because he doesn’t know how to handle that responsibility effectively,” Blake told the New York Daily News on Saturday. “He doesn’t deserve to have the same title as officers who are doing good work and are really helping keep the rest of the city safe.”
Blake spoke to the media a day after surveillance video of the takedown and detainment was released along with details about how the officer in question already had several complaints over inappropriate use of force. The officer who arrested Blake, James Frascatore, has been with the NYPD for four years and has amassed four civilian complaints and at least four excessive-force lawsuits filed against him, according to the New York Post. “I think that that kind of police officer tarnishes the badge, which I have the utmost respect for and I believe that the majority of police officers do great work and they’re heroes,” Blake told the Associated Press. Frascatore has been placed on desk duty while internal affairs conducts an investigation.
Blake talked to CNN about how he still felt shaken up by the incident and kept replaying it in his head, wondering what would have happened if he hadn’t been so passive when the cop tackled him. “I think about how scary it would have been had I put my arms up and done the normal reaction … to defend myself,” Blake said. “If I had any sort of resistance, I wonder what could have happened. I could have broken bones, a concussion or worse.”
Blake, who was once ranked among the top 10 professional tennis players in the world, said he didn’t react another way because it took him a while to realize what was happening. “My initial reaction being naïve, I guess, is this is probably a fan or someone just having fun and giving me a big hug, someone I don’t recognize from high school,” he told NBC News. “About three seconds later, I realized it wasn’t someone giving me a friendly hug, that’s for sure.”
While Blake said he appreciated that Mayor Bill de Blasio and police Commissioner William Bratton had called him to apologize he said he wants to use the incident to call attention to a practice that is all too common. “I want to talk about putting a significant amount of money into a fund for other victims of this,” Blake told the Wall Street Journal. “I want to start talking about other ideas, about ways that we can make progress and make sure that this doesn’t happen again.”