By Elijah Moore, age 11
In 2015, James Blake, a former professional tennis player, was standing outside of a New York City hotel when he was tackled by a police officer without provocation.
The officer who tackled Blake was a white man named James Frascatore. He mistook Blake, a black man, for a suspect in a credit card fraud ring case. The officer previously had many complaints filed against him for misconduct. Instead of seeking a lawsuit Blake decided to push the city to create a legal fellowship that would investigate similar police incidents and misconduct. According to The New York Times, the legal fellow “will perform outreach in neighborhoods with a [large number] of police complaints to help the agency close more of its investigations.”
“Over 50 percent [of police misconduct investigations] last year were not seen to completion, so we want to make sure that people are seeing this to completion and getting the settlements, getting the disciplinary action required for these kind of incidents,” Blake said on Good Morning America.
James Blake has written a book titled Ways of Grace about athletes who stood up for human rights, such as Arthur Ashe and Billie Jean King. “I wanted to showcase that there’s a lot of positive stories in sports and a lot of athletes that do the right thing with their voices,” Blake said on Good Morning America.
Provocation: Deliberate action or speech that is meant to get a response from someone.
Misconduct: Unacceptable or improper behavior, especially by an employee or professional person.
Legal fellowship: Programs for law school graduates in which they do work that benefits the public.