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NYT Calls For Firing Of NYPD Officer Who Tackled James Blake, Demands Real Change

Fed up with what’s become an obvious pattern of brutal police conduct obfuscated by empty promises of reform, the New York Times published a scathing editorial Tuesday, calling out the NYPD its disregard for human dignity. Using the unwarranted tackling and assault of former tennis pro James Blake as its impetus, the piece calls for the firing of James Frascatore, the disgraced officer who attacked him, and demands a renewed NYPD, real commitment to to its motto: Courtesy, Professionalism, Respect.

“Commissioner William Bratton and Mayor Bill de Blasio should make an example of [Frascatore],” the piece opens. “They should make it clear that his unprovoked aggression — caught by a security camera, so there is no doubt about what he did — reflects everything that causes people to distrust and hate the N.Y.P.D.The officer’s further transgressions — not identifying himself to Mr. Blake, not apologizing, failing to void the arrest in follow-up paperwork — speak to an appalling lack of judgment by someone unfit for the job.”

Frascatore has been sued at least four times in the past for using excessive force while on the job as a cop, but the Times saves its most withering criticism for the department’s top brass, who have time and time again merely paid lip service in the wake of injustices, while refusing to make clear examples out of dangerous officers.

After the death of Eric Garner on Staten Island at the hands of the police in July 2014, Mr. Bratton promised to retrain all of his officers in professional, nonlethal arrest procedures. How could Officer Frascatore not have gotten the message?

Mr. Bratton fiercely defends his department’s aggressive policing of small infractions, so that “quality of life” in the city is preserved. But “quality of life” should also mean the freedom to stand on the sidewalk without worrying that a plainclothes officer will attack you.

The entire editorial is a well-reasoned, hyper-aggressive pushback against a police force who seems to consider itself above the law, even in incidents of brutal beatings and wrongful death. Read it in full over at NYT.

Scott Heins

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Scott Heins

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