NYC arrest video shows ex-tennis pro being thrown to ground

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NEW YORK (AP) Video surveillance released Friday of the mistaken arrest of former tennis star James Blake shows a plainclothes police officer who has a history of excessive-force complaints grabbing Blake by the arm and tackling him to the ground.

Officer James Frascatore’s rough arrest of the hometown favorite outside a midtown Manhattan hotel on Wednesday prompted apologies from New York City’s mayor and police commissioner.

Frascatore was the subject of four civilian complaints in a seven-month period of 2013, and he has been named in two federal civil rights lawsuits as being among a group of officers accused of beating, pepper spraying and falsely arresting two Queens men in separate incidents that year.

The surveillance footage shows Blake standing against a silver post outside the Grand Hyatt New York when Frascatore approaches suddenly, grabs Blake, spins him around and throws him to the ground.

Stephen Davis, the NYPD’s top spokesman, released the video Friday and said Blake was interviewed by internal affairs detectives Thursday night.

Frascatore, who has four years on the force and previously worked as a police officer in Florida, was the officer who arrested Blake, a law enforcement official confirmed Friday. The official was not authorized to publicly discuss the case and spoke on condition of anonymity.

The official said one of the complaints was exonerated, another dismissed, a third – for refusing to identify himself – was substantiated, and the status of the fourth was unclear.

In a statement, Blake said that “while I continue to believe the vast majority of our police officers are dedicated public servants who conduct themselves appropriately, I know that what happened to me is not uncommon.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner William Bratton said in a statement that the city “extends deepest apologies to Mr. Blake” and that both the mayor and police commissioner “stand ready” to meet with Blake.

“The incident remains under investigation to determine what contributed to the errors made, who may be held accountable, and what we can learn to prevent these mistakes from being repeated in the future,” they said.

Bratton said earlier Friday that investigators were reviewing the officer’s disciplinary record “understanding that some of those issues were exonerated.” He didn’t elaborate.

A number listed for Frascatore, 38, wasn’t in service Friday and a spokesman for his union declined to comment on the claims.

Patrick J. Lynch, head of the police officer’s union, said the officer was apprehending “what he had every reason to believe was an individual who had just committed a crime.”

He said he regrets any embarrassment or injury suffered by Blake as a result, but the apprehension was made “under fluid circumstances where the subject might have fled, and the officer did a professional job of bringing the individual to the ground.”

Frascatore’s four complaints to the Civilian Complaint Review Board, which investigates claims of police misconduct, are more than average for an officer. Three-fourths of the department has two or fewer complaints against them, according to the board’s data. The complaints against Frascatore were first reported by radio’s WNYC.

In one of the federal lawsuits, Warren Diggs claims Frascatore and other officers arrested him in the driveway of his own home in January 2013 as he attempted to go inside to get his ID, hitting him on the head so hard he fell down and then pepper spraying him, court papers show. City lawyers are reviewing that case, a spokesman for the Law Department said.

Four months later, Stefon Luckey claims Frascatore was among a group of officers who punched him, pepper-sprayed him and hurled racial epithets at him outside a Queens deli, the lawsuit said. Luckey’s lawyer, Philip Hines, said his client texted him after Frascatore’s name became public: “Everything done in the dark eventually comes to light.”

Lawyers for the city “are in the early stages of litigation,” in that case, Law Department spokesman Nick Paolucci said.

Blake, 38, was arrested after he was misidentified as being involved in a fraudulent credit card scheme that was using the hotel for deliveries, police have said.

Blake had been ranked as high as No. 4 in the world and reached three Grand Slam quarterfinals. Before retiring after the 2013 U.S. Open, he won 10 singles titles, most recently in 2007.

Twice he reached the quarterfinals at the U.S. Open, a hometown tournament that seemed to bring out his best play.

The story has been corrected based on information from a law enforcement official to show that the officer received four complaints, not five, from the New York City agency charged with investigating allegations of police misconduct.

Associated Press writer Frank Eltman contributed to this report from Mineola, New York.

Frances Tiafoe lifts Team World to 1st Laver Cup win

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LONDON — The last to arrive, befitting his reputation in the locker room, Frances Tiafoe strutted into the post-match news conference after clinching Team World’s Laver Cup victory over Roger Federer’s star-studded Team Europe and shouted, “Champs are here!”

Then the 24-year-old from Maryland joined his teammates at the table where the silver trophy was resting Sunday night, put down a bottle of water, pulled a Budweiser out of his red jacket and smiled that wide smile of his.

Performing with the same infectious showmanship and crunch-time success he displayed en route to his first Grand Slam semifinal at the U.S. Open earlier this month, Tiafoe staved off four match points and came back to beat Stefanos Tsitsipas 1-6, 7-6 (11), 10-8, giving Team World its first triumph in five editions of an event founded by Federer’s management company.

“I don’t like losing,” said Federer, a 20-time major champion whose final match before retirement was a loss alongside Rafael Nadal in doubles against Tiafoe and Jack Sock on Friday night. “It’s not fun. It just leaves not the best taste.”

When Tsitsipas put a forehand into the net to end Sunday’s contest – and the three-day competition – Tiafoe dropped his racket and fell to his back on the court, where teammates piled atop him. After getting on his feet, Tiafoe cupped a hand to his ear, asking spectators for more noise, then pointed to his chest and yelled, “I’m him! I’m him!”

“When it becomes a circus out here, and I’m just using the crowd and acting like a little kid and having a bunch of reactions … I end up playing really well and I start building momentum off it,” Tiafoe said. “I’m able to play and function in that better than my opponents, it seems.”

Using the nickname other players gave Tiafoe to reflect the way he embraces big moments, Team World captain John McEnroe said: “Frances is `Prime Time.’ He loves this stuff.”

McEnroe had been 0-4 while leading his squad against his former playing rival, Team Europe captain Bjorn Borg; both indicated they would be back for the 2023 Laver Cup in Vancouver, but that might be their last go-round.

This one served as a celebration of Federer and the 41-year-old Swiss star’s career.

Tiafoe responded with a quip when asked whether he might owe Federer some form of “I’m sorry” for beating him in his finale or for defeating his team, which also included Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray for a total of 66 major singles titles. That, incidentally, is 66 more than Team World, a collection of 20-somethings (Sock turned 30 on Saturday).

“”I’m not going to apologize to him. He’s got a lot to apologize for after the last 24 years – after beating everybody on the tour,” said Tiafoe, who went 0-3 against Federer in singles head-to-head. “I will say thank you for having me in this amazing event, what he’s done for the game. He’s a class act. Happy to know him, happy to call him a friend, happy to call him a colleague, and best wishes in his second act. But I will not apologize.”

Team Europe entered Sunday at O2 Arena with an 8-4 lead; the first team to 13 points would win.

Each match on Day 3 was worth three points, and Team World went ahead thanks to a pair of victories by Felix Auger-Aliassime, a 22-year-old from Canada. He beat Djokovic 6-3, 7-6 (3), after partnering with Sock to edge Murray and Matteo Berrettini 2-6, 6-3, 10-8 in doubles.

Tiafoe then made it 13-8, but it wasn’t easy.

He went a tournament-record 8-0 in tiebreakers at Flushing Meadows this month and was just as resilient Sunday.

“It’s been a long time that Frances has been playing the big guys close and losing a lot of close battles. It’s great to see lately he’s been winning,” said Taylor Fritz, an American who is the same age as Tiafoe and has known him for years. “It’s about time that he steps up and the matches go the other way. Today was a joke.”

That’s because Tiafoe was a single point from losing to Tsitsipas four times in their second-set tiebreaker, but somehow got through that. Then, at 4-all in the concluding match tiebreaker – first to 10, win by two – Tiafoe sprinted from behind the baseline to near the net and barely got to a drop shot by Tsitsipas, somehow lunging to flick an angled winner.

While most of the 16,365 fans went wild, Tiafoe went around the net and stood still, hands on his hips, relishing the atmosphere.

“We put him in the slot that he was in today for a reason,” said Team World’s Tommy Paul, another 24-year-old American, “and he stepped up for us, big time.”

Sonego beats Bublik at Moselle Open to win 1st title of 2022

Winston-Salem Open - Day 5
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METZ, France – Lorenzo Sonego clinched his first title of the season by beating Alexander Bublik 7-6 (3), 6-2 in the Moselle Open final.

The 27-year-old Italian did not drop a set all tournament as he won the third title of his career and first on hard courts.

The unseeded Sonego recovered from 0-40 down in the fifth game of the match and secured victory when the seventh-seeded Bublik sent a backhand return long.

He then danced on court as he celebrated a perfect tournament where he also beat defending champion Hubert Hurkacz in the semifinals.

Sonego’s win will move him up 21 places in the ATP rankings and into 44th place.