Prosecutor Recommends Loss of Vacation for Officer in James Blake Case

The trial finally began last week and ended on Tuesday, its path now shrouded in secrecy. The deputy police commissioner of trials, Rosemarie Maldonado, will find Officer Frascatore guilty or not guilty, and recommend a penalty, if necessary. The police commissioner, James P. O’Neill, will ultimately decide whether to accept, modify or reject her findings.

The process could take months, and the deputy commissioner’s findings and the commissioner’s ruling are shielded from public disclosure because of a state civil rights law, known by the clause 50-a, which forbids the release of personnel records of police officers, firefighters and correction officers. Police officials said in January that they were developing a protocol for releasing the outcomes of disciplinary proceedings, but a policy has yet to be adopted. An appeals court ruling in March affirmed the de Blasio administration’s interpretation that the law applies to disciplinary records, sidestepping a practice in place for four decades of making disciplinary action publicly available.

Officer Frascatore, in his testimony, said he believed Mr. Blake was armed when he approached him, and his lawyer sought to prove that the martial arts tactic the officer used to take down the tennis player was necessary, given what he knew, to prevent a foot chase on the crowded street or a fight against the hotel’s glass doors. Though the police turned out to be wrong about Mr. Blake and about the man whose photo was used to identify him as a suspect, the officer’s lawyer, Stephen C. Worth, justified it as a risk that comes when “police officers act in a proactive way.”

“Mistakes are going to be made,” he said. “As long as those mistakes are made in good faith, as there is absolutely no doubt happened here, then those officers have to be protected.”

The closing statements followed testimony from Detective Daniel Herzog, who was in charge of the financial crimes task force that was seeking the thieves, who had purchased about $3,000 in luxury shoes with fraudulent credit cards.

Mr. Blake has called for Officer Frascatore to be fired. Mr. Blake said a loss of vacation time would be inadequate for an officer whose record of complaints demonstrated a pattern of violent behavior toward black men.

“If he gets away with this, a slap on the wrist,” he said, “what’s to stop him the next time from being worse?”

The Police Department appeared to expand its interpretation of the 50-a…

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