No due process for ‘standing while Black’

JULIANNE MALVEAUX | 9/26/2015, 8:40 a.m.
Is Patrick Lynch, president of the New York Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, obliged to defend his members even when they are ...

(NNPA) – Is Patrick Lynch, president of the New York Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, obliged to defend his members even when they are wrong? The open letter posted on the PBA website and printed in the New York Daily News lacks credibility and contributes to the fractured state of police-community relations. He has cautioned the media, and others, about rushing to judgment of James Frascatore, the walking assault machine that tackled former tennis star James Blake, put his knee to Blake’s back, and then cuffed him. This was captured by a security camera; the footage is ubiquitous online. Lynch says, “No one should ever jump to an uninformed conclusion based on a few seconds of video.”

Lynch makes every excuse that he can for Frascatore, and chides “pundits and editorial writers” because “they have never faced the dangers that police officers routinely do.” Comments about Blake’s false arrest and further cover-up are “irresponsible, unjust, and un-American.” Lynch says Frascatore deserves “due process, not summary professional execution called for by editorial writers.”

Due process is the legal requirement that the state must respect all the legal rights due to a person. When did Blake get due process? Frascatore tackled Blake with neither provocation nor even conversation. Either Lynch didn’t watch the video or he doesn’t care that there is a pugilistic police officer that has no regard for due process when he interacts with the public.

Frascatore should have been history in the NYPD some time ago. He has only been part of the NYPD for four years, yet five complaints against him have been filed with the Civilian Complaint Review Board. All of these complaints involve the excessive use of force. Frascatore is fast with his fists (he is accused of punching people in the head, the mouth and in the torso); tragedy would be compounded if he were using a gun. For all of Frascatore’s abuse of power, it took his assault of Blake to get him desk duty. Blake has very reasonably called for Frascatore’s firing. But loudmouth Lynch (consider his comments in the wake of Eric Garner’s murder) has talked himself onto a limb with his passionate, but baseless defense of a police “officer.”

If there were due process, Frascatore would have been arrested for assaulting Blake. But police officers accused of wrongdoing hide behind their uniforms and rarely pay for their crimes. If there were due process, a man with five complaints before the CCRB would have been put on desk duty, if not suspended or fired, some time ago.

The New York Daily News reported on a 2013 incident where Frascatore and two others followed bicyclist Warren Diggs home. Once there, they demanded identification from him but proceeded to punch him in the head and pummel his body – before he could retrieve his ID. Diggs’ significant other, Nafeesah Hines, saw part of the fracas and began recording it. She asked officers for their names and badge numbers; two complied but Frascatore refused.

When Hines went to move Diggs’ bicycle from the sidewalk and into their home, she was told that she was tampering with evidence and was arrested. The Civilian Complaint Review Board found inconsistencies between Frascatore’s statements and the recording Hines made. It recommended “retraining” Frascatore. Hines also sued the city for false arrest and settled out of court. Diggs still has a federal civil rights lawsuit against the city.