Here we see NYPD Police Officer James Frascatore using the “straight arm bar takedown” on Mr. James Blake whom he mistook for a suspect in a credit card scam. Not only did he have the wrong man, Mr. Blake was a retired world-class tennis pro, apparently doing nothing more than “fidgeting with his phone and looking around.”
Last week P.O. Frascatore had a disciplinary hearing – in front of another NYPD officer, of course – where he faced the draconian punishment of losing some vacation days. A retired NYPD cop testified, with no apparent irony, that Frascatore’s actions were “entirely in keeping with his training.” When the retiree was asked if he himself had been part of a ticket-fixing scandal a few years back, the judge cleared the courtroom, citing Civil Rights Law 50-a, which shields cops’ personnel records from disclosure. Public activists protested that this was a terrible misuse of the law.
Maybe so, but why impeach the credibilty of a witness who’s publicly admitted that the NYPD trains its cops to go around doing the straight arm bar takedown on people without first finding out who they are? What’s a little ticket-fixing compared to that? The guy should be a star witness for the prosecution in every police brutality case.
The People invoke the same Civil Rights law as an excuse to stamp “Confidential” on their briefs in sex offense cases without even the silly formality of a judicial ruling. Of course they could refer to the complainants by their initials, but they prefer to splatter their names all over the brief and then declare it off-limits to the public. Considering what a rich source of dubious convictions sex prosecutions are, it’s no wonder that the People want secrecy. It’s called CYA.