On Sept. 9, 2015, Blake was apprehended by a group of cops outside of a hotel in midtown Manhattan. The cops thought the retired Black athlete was a person of interest in an identity theft ring.
Welp, they were wrong. Nonetheless, Blake’s encounter with NYPD lasted 15 minutes after officer James Frascatore slammed him onto the ground and arrested him. The incident left him with cuts and bruises.
“In my mind, there’s probably a race factor involved, but no matter what, there’s no reason for anybody to do that to anybody,” Blake told the New York Daily News afterward. “You’d think they could say, ‘Hey, we want to talk to you. We are looking into something.’ I was just standing there. I wasn’t running. It’s not even close [to being OK]. It’s blatantly unnecessary.”
Blake recollected the incident in his June memoir Ways of Grace. In the book, he referred to the cop as an “out of control and corrupt officer.”
Frascatore, who was suspended after the incident and placed on desk duty upon his return, found Blake’s description of him as grounds to sue for defamation.
“This characterization could not be farther from the truth,” the lawsuit claims. “This public perception has not only led to his family fleeing their home in fear as a result of public threats to their safety, it has ruined a good man’s career, name and reputation.”
Frascatore alleges Blake characterized him as a “racist goon.” He’s suing for $75,000 on the claim of emotional distress.
He filed his suit at the Manhattan federal court against Blake, HarperCollins—which published the book—New York City, the NYPD and the director of the department’s civilian complaint review board.
The proceedings and outcome of the case will be a private matter.