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NYPD cop who tackled James Blake covered up arrest

Officer James Frascatore was placed on desk duty and had his gun and badge yanked after detectives viewed the surveillance video from the hotel, sources said.Handout

Officer James Frascatore was placed on desk duty and had his gun and badge yanked after detectives viewed the surveillance video from the hotel, sources said.

The cop who body-slammed tennis great James Blake outside a Manhattan hotel allegedly tried to cover up the bogus arrest.

James Frascatore failed to inform his superiors that he threw Blake to the sidewalk and cuffed him in the mistaken belief that he was a wanted credit card thief, police said Thursday.

It took Blake coming forward to The Daily News with accusations of being manhandled by a plainclothes cop outside the Grand Hyatt Hotel to put the incident on the NYPD’s radar.

“My concern is that after the release there’s department protocols that should have been followed but apparently were not,” Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said. “Mr. Blake has made a number of comments to the press. That’s how we became aware of the matter.”

Frascatore, a four year NYPD veteran who in the past has been accused of using excessive force and failing to identify himself as a cop while making an arrest, was placed on desk duty and had his gun and badge yanked after detectives viewed the surveillance video from the hotel.

“I have concerns about the takedown,” Bratton said.

EXCLUSIVE: EX-TENNIS STAR JAMES BLAKE TACKLED BY WHITE COPS

Bratton later confirmed he apologized on behalf of the NYPD to Blake, who agreed to meet with him, with Internal Affairs investigators, and with Mayor de Blasio.

“Mr. Blake had no role or involvement in the criminal investigation that we were conducting and was totally innocent,” Bratton said.

Earlier, Blake said an apology would be appreciated but he wants something more.

“I’d like an explanation for how they conducted themselves because I think we all need to be held accountable for our actions, and police as well,” he told ABC News.

The Civilian Complaint Review Board has also opened an investigation after receiving a referral from the NYPD’s Internal Affair Bureau, sources said.

LUPICA: JAMES BLAKE DESERVES AN APOLOGY FROM NYPD, MAYOR

The CCRB are well-acquainted with Frascatore. As of 2014, he had five complaints filed against him, according to court documents obtained by WNYC.

In one case, Frascatore was accused of using too much muscle and abusing his authority while arresting a man for marijuana possession. He also charged the man’s girlfriend with evidence tampering after she moved her beau’s bike following the arrest.

NYC PAPERS OUT. Social media use restricted to low res file max 184 x 128 pixels and 72 dpiJefferson Siegel/New York Daily News

NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton defended the officers who tackled James Blake.

James Blake of U.S. reacts during his match against Novak Djokovic of Serbia at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York Sept. 4, 2010.SHANNON STAPLETON/REUTERS

James Blake of U.S. reacts during his match against Novak Djokovic of Serbia at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York Sept. 4, 2010.

NYC PAPERS OUT. Social media use restricted to low res file max 184 x 128 pixels and 72 dpiAndrew Savulich/New York Daily News

The NYPD has put an officer on modified duty after former tennis star James Blake was handcuffed in Midtown Manhattan Wednesday in an apparent mix-up.

NYC PAPERS OUT. Social media use restricted to low res file max 184 x 128 pixels and 72 dpiAndrew Savulich/New York Daily News

Tennis star James Blake was tackled outside the Grand Hyatt Hotel entrance near Grand Central at E. 42 St. Wednesday.

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All criminal charges were later dropped. And the CCRB recommended that Frascatore be retrained on police protocol after determining that he failed to give his name or shield number during the arrest, WNYC reported.

Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch came to Frascatore’s defense.

“Placing this officer on modified duty is premature and unwarranted,” he said. “No police officer should ever face punitive action before a complete review of the facts.”

Frascatore is white. Blake, who was once ranked No. 4 in the world, is half-black and told The News earlier that he believes there was “probably a race factor involved” in his arrest.

Bratton on Thursday insisted race didn’t figure into the arrest.

“Sorry, race has nothing at all to do with this,” he said earlier on CNN. “If you look at the photograph of the suspect it looks like the twin brother of Mr. Blake. So let’s put that nonsense to rest right now, race has nothing to do with this.”

Blake found himself in the cops’ crosshairs after he inadvertently walked into the middle of an NYPD sting operation on a internet credit card theft ring.

A courier working with cops had just delivered some high-end fashion shoes to a 27-year-old British citizen named James Short who was immediately busted after paying with a purloined American Express card, police said.

But when asked to point out Short’s alleged accomplice, the courier pointed to Blake who was standing nearby and texting on his phone.

“This was an instantaneous type of arrest,” Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said. “That’s him. He was eight feet away and that’s why he was arrested.”

When police realized they nabbed the wrong man, they raced inside the Hyatt and quickly arrested another Brit, 26-year-old Jarmaine Gray.

“There’s a remarkable likeness between the two,” Boyce said of Gray and Blake.

Blake, who suffered a cut to his left elbow and bruises to his left leg, told The News none of the cops involved in the arrest identified themselves — including the shorts and T-shirt clad cop who charged straight at him and tackled him on E. 42nd St.

“The reason for that is the arresting officer was working undercover in a surveillance atmosphere,” Boyce said. “So he was not showing his identification.”

Pictured is the unidentified victim of identity fraud incident that led to retired tennis star James Blake being handcuffed in front of the Grand Hyatt in Midtown.TMZ.com

Pictured is the unidentified victim of identity fraud incident that led to retired tennis star James Blake being handcuffed in front of the Grand Hyatt in Midtown.

Tennis star James Blake speaks to reporters outside the Grand Hyatt Hotel entrance near Grand Central at E 42 St. Wednesday.Andrew Savulich/New York Daily News

Tennis star James Blake speaks to reporters outside the Grand Hyatt Hotel entrance near Grand Central at E 42 St. Wednesday.

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  • Pictured is the unidentified victim of identity fraud incident that led to retired tennis star James Blake being handcuffed in front of the Grand Hyatt in Midtown.
  • Tennis star James Blake speaks to reporters outside the Grand Hyatt Hotel entrance near Grand Central at E 42 St. Wednesday.

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Blake, who was on his way to a corporate appearance for Time Warner Cable at the U.S. Open when he was arrested, said he was turned loose only after a retired cop who happened to be at the scene recognized him.

Charlie Sanders, 55, who sells newspapers at Park Ave. and 42nd St., said he saw the takedown.

“I didn’t know who he was,” he said of Blake. “I did see that they had him in cuffs. I heard him say, ‘I got my US Open Badge!”

Sanders said the officers were rough with Blake even after dragging him to his feet.

“They had his face against the window,” he said. “He was shaken up. He was scared to death.”

A high-ranking NYPD source who specializes in training cops said what troubles him most is that the officer who arrested and cuffed Blake never apologized.

“If a police officer makes a mistake, then he should apologize,” the source said. “That is covered in the training, whether you take down the person or not. When you’re wrong you apologize and that’s basic. That’s police work 101.”

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tmoore@nydailynews.com

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nypd ,
bill bratton ,
james blake ,
bill de blasio

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