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A Cop Is Suing Former Tennis Player James Blake After Slamming Him To The Ground Outside An NYC Hotel

Officer James Frascatore says he was made to look like a “racist goon.”

In 2015, former tennis player James Blake was on his way to an appearance for the U.S. Open when a plainclothes NYPD officer tackled him “like an NFL linebacker.” After the cop forced Blake to the ground and handcuffed him, more cops swarmed to help detain him outside of the Grand Hyatt Hotel.

The incident was caught on surveillance camera and released by the NYPD.

Blake, who is biracial, was let go 15 minutes later but suffered minor bruises to his legs and a cut on his arm, according to the New York Daily News. Officer James Frascatore, who is white, maintained that he ambushed the retired tennis star because he fit the description of a credit card thief.

Over the last two years, Frascatore, who has since been placed on modified duty with the NYPD, says his life has been ruined. He plans to sue Blake for slander and emotional distress, and argues that he was made to look like a “racist goon.”

“People need to realize that, with the information I had at the time and the circumstances that presented themselves, it was the right call,” he told the New York Post. “I have a family to go home to. I’m on a crowded sidewalk, with a possibly armed suspect in the middle of 42nd Street. You have to take control of the situation. I can’t just be pulling out my gun.”

The NYPD, Civilian Complaint Review Board Director Tracy Catapano-Fox, the city of New York, and Blake’s book publisher, HarperCollins are also named in Frascatore's complaint, to be filed this week.

Frascatore was also upset to find that Blake addressed the incident in his book, Ways of Grace: Stories , of Activism, Adversity and How Sports Can Bring Us Together.

In an interview with Daily News shortly after the altercation, Blake described the “scary” run-in with authorities as being race related. “In my mind there’s probably a race factor involved, but no matter what there’s no reason for anybody to do that to anybody,” he said at the time.

Blake later told Good Morning America that the case was less about race and more about “excessive force.”

NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton publicly apologized to Blake. He also said that race had “nothing to do” with the arrest, and added that a witness had mistakenly identified Blake as the suspect involved in an apparent credit card scheme, who was later arrested.

“If you look at the photograph of the suspect, it looks like the twin brother of Mr. Blake,” Bratton said.

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Trailblazers Portrayed In 'Hidden Figures' To Receive Congressional Gold Medals

Engineers Mary Jackson and Christine Darden, mathematician Katherine Johnson and computer programmer Dorothy Vaughn are being honored with the highest U.S. civilian award.

The four trailblazers, three of whom were depicted in the film Hidden Figures, will receive Congressional Gold Medal, ABC News reports. U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) helped introduce the Hidden Figures Congressional Gold Medal Act, a bipartisan bill signed by President Donald Trump last Friday (Nov. 8).

As the highest civilian award in the U.S., the Congressional Gold Medal recognizes those who have performed an achievement that has had a lasting impact on American history and culture.

Johnson, who celebrated her 101st birthday last summer, calculated trajectories for numerous NASA space missions beginning in the early 1950s. Vaughn, who died in 2008, led the West Area Computing unit for nine years, and was the first black supervisors at the national Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, which later became NASA.

Jackson, who died in 2005, was NASA’s first black engineer. Darden became an engineer at NASA 16 years after Jackson and went on to “revolutionize aeronautic design.” She was also the first black person to be promoted to Senior Executive at NASA's Langley Research Center, and has also authored more than 50 articles on aeronautics design.

“Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, and Dr. Christine Darden made monumental contributions to science and our nation,” said Senator Harris. “The groundbreaking accomplishments of these four women, and all of the women who contributed to the success of NASA, helped us win the space race but remained in the dark far too long. I am proud our bill to honor these remarkable women has passed Congress. These pioneers remain a beacon for Black women across the country, both young and old.”

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Authorities Release Grisly Details Of Alexis Crawford’s Murder

Alexis Crawford was strangled to death before her body was thrown in a trash bin, the Fulton Country Superior Court revealed in court documents released on Tuesday (Nov. 12).

Crawford died on Oct. 31, reports the Atlanta-Journal Constitution. Four days earlier, the 21-year-old Clark Atlanta University senior filed a police report against her roommate, Jordyn Jones's boyfriend, Barron Bentley, accusing him of sexual assault. Crawford had a rape kit performed on her at a local hospital. Crawford's decision to go to police caused tension between her and Jones, which erupted in a physical fight.

“As a result of the physical altercation, Barron Brantley choked the victim until she was deceased,” the Atlanta Police Department said.

After killing Crawford, Jones and Brantley, both age 21, stuffed her body into a “plastic bin” and transported it to Exchange Park in Decatur, Ga., where they left her remains.

Crawford and Jones knew each other for at least two years, and became close while studying at Clark Atlanta. The Michigan native even visited Crawford’s family’s home during the holidays.

Brantley confessed to Crawford's murder and led police to her body last Friday (Nov. 7). Jones was arrested the following day.

Brantley and Jones are both charged with felony murder and are being held without bond.

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Kansas City To Remove Martin Luther King’s Name From Street Signs

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s name is set to be removed from street signs around Kansas City after resident voted Tuesday (Nov. 5), to drop MLK Boulevard and restore the parkway back to its original name, The Paseo.

The measure, which passed with approximately 70 percent of the vote, was spearheaded by Save the Paseo, a grassroots movement whose mission is to “preserve the name of KC’s most historic boulevard and find a way to honor Dr. King that brings the City together.”  Stretching 10 miles north and south, The Paseo is the longest, and one of the oldest streets in KC.

Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas introduced the resolution to have the street renamed, after nearly 40 years of failed attempts at honoring the late Civil Rights hero. The MLK street signs were erected this past February. “People want to make sure that we engage with enough different community stakeholders, and I think it's fair to say that did not happen," Lucas told The Kansas City Star in reaction to the vote.

Rep. Vernon P. Howard, who helped lead the MLK name change effort, believes that the issue is race-related. Howard said Save the Paseo group members are of mostly white residents who don’t fully grasp the significance of the name change. Paseo members held a silent protest at the Paseo Baptist Church last Sunday (Nov. 3).

“This is a white-led movement that is trying to dictate to black people in the black community who our heroes should be, who we honor, where we honor them and how we honor them,” Howard said. “That is the pathology of white privilege and that is the epitome of systemic structural racism.”

The street sign discrepancy began after the city changed the address of more than 1,800 residents without asking. Kansas City law requires that at least two-thirds of residents approve a street name before it can be changed, although the rule is not typically enforced, according to The Star. Diane Euston, a member of Save Paseo, said that she was “proud of Kansas City” after Tuesday's vote.

Kansas City is expected to remove more than 100 signs, including those that cut through a predominately black neighborhood in town. Although Kansas City has a park named after King, the city will go back to being one of the largest major metropolitan areas without a street named in King's honor.

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