I was reading the news a few days ago and came across the James Blake incident that recently happen in New York City. These type of incidents make me think that NYC Police Officers need some training in race relations and more community involvement. This incident caught my attention due to the fact James Blake is a retired professional tennis player who was mistakenly arrested for supposedly looking like a fraudulent credit card suspect. The suspect was African-American and the police officer mistakenly thought James Blake was the suspect. James Blake is a biracial (African-American & Caucasian) man and Harvard educated (education has no connection to ever being treated wrong by the police). The police officers that arrested Mr. Blake who was very scared and compliant was roughed up during his arrest which proves that African-Americans are often mistreated and mistaken for the wrong person. New York City Mayor De Blasio and New York Police Commissioner Bratton acted very quickly to address the arrest. However, my question is would the quick apology ever happen if this would have been an average African-American man? “This shouldn’t have happened and he shouldn’t have been treated that way,” Mayor De Blasio said in an interview on NY1 on Thursday, echoing remarks made earlier by Police Commissioner Bratton. On Thursday, Police Commissioner Bratton had conveyed his apology in a conversation with Mr. Blake, and Mayor De Blasio had exchanged text messages with Mr. Blake.
The actions of the Police Officer, James Frascatore, were under review by internal affairs investigators and the Civilian Complaint Review Board. At least three force-related complaints, one of which was partially substantiated, were filed against Officer Frascatore, 38, with the review board in 2013, said a law enforcement official. The video of the arrest reviewed by the authorities showed a botched sting operation had ensnared a sports celebrity, resulting in his being body-slammed to the sidewalk, according to his account, and handcuffed for 15 minutes on Wednesday afternoon. A man who sells newspapers said that the police officers handled Mr. Blake like he just finish robbing a bank. Mr. Blake tried to tell the officers that he a had U.S. Olympic badge. Mr. Blake said that the police officers did not explain why he was getting arrested nor did they really show their badges or identify themselves. Mr. Blake said that his wife encouraged him to come forward and speak about this injustice.
Mr. Blake told Police Commissioner Bratton that he accepted the apology, but also made a firm request of the Commissioner, according to a person with knowledge of the investigation, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because it was continuing. Mr. Blake said that this is “very much a bigger issue”. “That this is what happens every day and that this needs to be the start of a conversation about the ‘us and them’ attitude, how to deal with the policing in the communities where this occurs most frequently.” Police Commissioner Bratton, speaking at the news conference earlier in the day, denied that race had played a role, saying, “I don’t believe at all that race was a factor.” For me to hear that Police Commissioner Bratton doesn’t think race had a play in this matter, just proves to me his refusal to acknowledge a real issue because I don’t think the police officers would have done this to a White man at all! The race relations in this country need help in my opinion. Too many times we are seeing this type of behavior play out on the news! I am just happy that Mr. Blake did not end up in the hospital or a grave! I hope that Mr. Blake continues to fight and speak up against this type of injustice! We sometimes need celebrities to experience these type of incidents to help shine the light and attention that is needed for this type of injustice!