On Wednesday, former tennis superstar James Blake made news when he was tackled by an undercover New York City police officer and taken to the ground, suffering cuts in the incident, which stemmed from mistaken identity in a credit card fraud case.
Turns out that the officer, identified as James Frascatore, has been sued four times in separate ongoing civil cases in which he and other officers are accused of using excessive force during false arrests, the New York Daily News reports.
Frascatore, who has been on the force for only four years, also has had at least five complaints against him with the Civilian Complaint Review Board. According to the Daily News, he has a meeting with Internal Affairs investigators next week regarding the incident with Blake, for which he has been reassigned to desk duty and had his gun and shield taken.
“You only get one bite at the apple at things like this, so they want to get all the facts before they interview him,” a source said, according to the Daily News.
According to the report, Frascatore was hit with his first lawsuit in 2013 regarding a traffic stop. He reportedly pulled over one Queens, N.Y., resident, Leroy Cline, and demanded his identification without saying why.
“He completely ignored me and said, ‘License, registration,’” Cline told WNYC last year. “I said, ‘Officer, what am I being pulled over for?’”
“That’s when he opened my car door and gave me three straight shots to the mouth,” Cline said, according to the Daily News report.
Frascatore, however, in a countersuit, said that Cline attacked him and bit his fist, saying that he suffered “permanent” injuries during the arrest.
The officer was also sued in a January 2013 incident, in which he and other officers allegedly arrested Warren Diggs for riding his bike on the sidewalk. Diggs said that he was pinned to the ground and that officers beat him while he was down, causing a concussion.
Diggs was later charged with possessing marijuana and resisting arrest. His girlfriend, Nafeesah Hines, was arrested on charges of tampering with evidence, according to the news site. However, the case against them was eventually dismissed.
Diggs said that the officers involved, including Frascatore, lied under oath. Hines sued the city for false arrest and settled out of court for $22,500.
Later, in May 2013, Frascatore was one of four officers accused of repeatedly pepper-spraying another Queens man for no reason. Stefon Luckey said that he was put in handcuffs but was later released without charges. Luckey later sued, accusing the officers of submitting “false statements” in an “effort to cover up and/or conceal their unlawful conduct.”
In June 2013, Frascatore was one of six officers who allegedly “viciously and violently” beat Samuel Pringle of Queens during an arrest without a warrant.
Luckey, the man who was pepper-sprayed, spoke to the Daily News about the latest allegations against Frascatore, saying that he wasn’t surprised.
“I don’t think the police force is for him,” he said. “He called me the n-word. He used excessive force for no reason, like he has a temper problem.
“He needs to resign and find something else to do,” Luckey added. “I don’t wish no jail time on him, but something needs to be done.”
Read more at the New York Daily News.