The NYPD union has defended James Frascatore, the officer who tackled retired tennis player James Blake outside of a hotel last week, while the man who resembles the player has claimed his innocence in a twisted case of mistaken identity.
The Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association released an open letter standing with Frascatore and also lambasting the media, calling them “arm-chair judges,” according to the NY Daily News. Author and NYPD Union President Patrick J. Lynch claims those outside of the department aren’t qualified to judge officers, although evidence has shown Frascatore used excessive force on Blake during the encounter.
Blake has also spoken out about the incident, claiming Frascatore never revealed he was a police officer before tackling him.
The off-putting note was then viewed by Blake, who released a statement calling Lynch’s defensive mechanisms a faulty disservice to the NYPD.
“In attempting to justify Mr. Frascatore’s indefensible conduct by reference to the risks and rigors of police work, Mr. Lynch badly disserves himself and the many honorable officers he is sworn to represent — all of whom have themselves been tarnished by that conduct,” Blake spokesman Kevin Marino said in a statement.
Harsh criticism against the NYPD is more than likely to continue. The alleged suspect of the initial credit card fraud case, Sean Saatha, has also come forward. The Australian native’s photo was taken from his brother’s Instagram page and used to identify the offender. Saatha told CBS News on Tuesday his brother’s credit card information was stolen and used in the U.S. Their suspicions were confirmed after finding out the NYPD was working on the case, but they were also troubled to see authorities used a photo of Saatha.
NY Daily News reports:
Saatha, who runs a sunglasses company called Local Supply, wrote that he was “disturbed by the assault and intimidation” that Blake suffered. “My name is clearly tagged at the bottom of the photo — so I feel this whole mess could have been avoided if someone had spent 10 minutes doing some research on Google prior to the manhunt,” Satha, who works in Sydney, wrote in an email obtained by the Daily News. “I actually have a twin brother and would be horrified if he was treated in such a way for merely resembling me. I have a huge amount of respect for James Blake and his handling of the situation.”
The NYPD says the photo of Saatha was provided by a GoButler.com employee, where the credit card was used. Armed with the picture last Wednesday, Frascatore waited outside of the Hyatt Hotel to find the man – whom he mistakenly identified as Blake.
British citizens James Short, 27, and Jarmaine Grey, 26, were arrested last week in the credit card fraud case at the hotel and forced to surrender their passports. GoButler says the duo purchased $18,000 worth of merchandise in stolen credit cards.
Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said race didn’t play a factor in the case. But former commissioner Raymond Kelly called the incident “inappropriate” and said no matter the circumstance, Frascatore should have identified himself as an officer of the law.
SOURCE: NY Daily News | VIDEO CREDIT: NDN
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