Precinct Reporter E Edition Page A-3

By Jim Salter and Jim Suhr Associated Press St. Louis (AP) - A reform panel formed after the Ferguson police shooting of Michael Brown is pushing for the consol- idation of police departments and municipal courts in the St. Louis area, and decreasing the use of police force. The Ferguson Commission, a 16-member panel appointed by Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon in November, released a copy of its 198-page report online on Monday. The report acknowledges that the commission has no power to enact any of the pro- posals, but Nixon has said the commission has the full support of his office. "The law says all citizens are equal," the report's introduction states. "But the data says not everyone is treated that way." The events in Ferguson raised concerns about police Precinct Reporter Thursday, September 17, 2015 A-3 Ferguson Panel Recommends Reform, Transparency James Blake: Fire NYC Officer Who Tackled Me By Jake Pearson Associated Press New York (AP) - Former tennis star James Blake, whose caught-on-camera takedown by a plainclothes New York City police officer prompted apolo- gies from the mayor and police commissioner, told The Associated Press that the officer who wrongly arrested him should be fired. "I don't think this person should ever have a badge or a gun again," Blake, 38, said a day after surveillance video of the arrest outside a Manhattan hotel - and details about previous complaints over the officer's use of force - became public. "I don't think it's too much to ask," he said. Blake, who had been ranked as high as No. 4 in the world before retiring after the 2013 U.S. Open, was misidentified by a cooperating witness as being part of a scheme to sell fraudu- lently purchased merchandise when he was tackled, police have said. The arresting officer, James Frascatore, who has been with the NYPD for four years, has been named in several civil rights lawsuits alleging exces- sive force. He has also been the subject of four civilian com- plaints - an above-average num- ber for NYPD officers, accord- ing to complaint data. "I think that that kind of police officer tarnishes the badge, which I have the utmost respect for and I believe that the majority of police officers do great work and they're heroes," Blake told the AP. "So this per- son doesn't ever belong in the same sentence with the heroes that are doing the right kind of police work and keeping the public safe." A message left at a number listed for Frascatore, 38, wasn't immediately returned. Officials have said he was exonerated of one civilian complaint, a second was unsubstantiated and he was sanctioned for not identifying himself in a third. The status of the fourth complaint was unclear. A spokesman for his union did not return a message seeking comment Saturday. But on Friday, Patrolmen's Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch said Blake's arrest was made "under fluid circumstances where the subject might have fled, and the officer did a profes- sional job of bringing the indi- vidual to the ground." Frascatore has been placed on desk duty while internal affairs detectives continue their investigation. At issue is not only Blake's takedown but whether the use-of-force wasn't properly reported up the chain of command - leaving police brass to learn of it only after Blake spoke to the media. But determining what disci- pline, if any, Frascatore could receive won't happen any time soon. Depending on the results of an internal investigation, he could face departmental charges. If Frascatore chooses to fight those charges, he would do so in a departmental trial where he could face potential punishments ranging from a loss of vacation days to performance monitoring or other disciplinary actions. Commissioner William Bratton, who earlier apologized personally to Blake, ultimately will decide Frascatore's fate. A police spokesman declined to comment on Blake's remarks, saying the internal investigation is ongoing. Blake said Saturday he was appreciative of Bratton and Mayor Bill de Blasio's apolo- gies, as well as their invitations to discuss further policing issues, including the use of body cameras, training and ways to departments and municipal courts in that north St. Louis County town, but also elsewhere in the region. The departments and courts have been accused of targeting minorities to raise rev- enue, leading to the mistrust that was a key component of the unrest following Brown's death. Brown, 18, who was black and unarmed, was killed by Ferguson officer Darren Wilson during a confrontation in August 2014. A St. Louis County grand jury and the U.S. Department of Justice declined to prosecute Wilson, who is white, but the shooting spurred a national "Black Lives Matter" movement and led to protests and rioting in and around Ferguson. The report said the panel heard from many black residents of the St. Louis region "who do not feel heard or respected when they interact with the police or the courts. They do not feel that they are treated in an unbiased way." Relations with police were strained in parts of the St. Louis region before the shooting, part- ly because of excessive force, the report said. "The regular use of force has led many citizens to view the police as an occupying force in their neighborhoods, damaging community trust, and making community safety even more difficult," the report said. It suggested new use-of- force policies, officer training and a change in department cul- ture. It also recommended estab- lishment of a statewide database of use-of-force incidents and sta- tistics. While it would not identi- fy officers involved, the data- base would be publicly avail- able, with all police departments compelled to provide informa- tion. The report notes that St. Louis County has 81 municipal courts and 60 municipal police departments. "Our findings are that this fragmentation of courts and police departments is not only costly and a grossly inefficient use of taxpayer resources, but more importantly presents as an impediment to justice for many of our region's citizens," the report said. The commission also recom- mended changes in several other areas to address social and eco- nomic divisions highlighted since the shooting. It suggested developing a statewide plan to deal with mass demonstrations that focuses on preserving life and recommended establishing school-based healing centers to address behavioral and health issues. "We believe that if we attempt to skirt the difficult truths, if we try to avoid talking about race, if we stop talking about Ferguson, as many in the region would like us to, then we cannot move forward," the report says. "Progress is rarely simple, and it rarely goes in a straight line." ensure more accountability. But he also said he hoped others who have been wrongly arrested or mistreated by officers would receive the same treat- ment. "I'm sure this isn't the first time police brutality has hap- pened and I'm sure it's not the last time," he said. "So I want them to apologize to the people that this happens to that don't have the same voice that I have." This image taken from a surveillance camera and released by the New York Police Department shows former tennis star James Blake, top left, being arrested by plainclothes officer James Frascatore on Wednesday, Sept. 9. Blake was mistaken for an identity-theft suspect that Police Commissioner William Bratton said looked like Blake's "twin." Bratton apologized to Blake. NYPD via AP Waters Hosts Briefing on State of Homelessness in America Washington, D.C. - Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Ranking Democrat on the Committee on Financial Services, hosted an in-depth dis- cussion with actor, activist, and philanthropist Richard Gere and a panel of policy experts on the state of homelessness in America, focusing on the need for additional resources, coordi- nation, and attention to help pre- vent and end homelessness in America. In addition to Gere, the panel of homelessness policy experts included Nan Roman, President and CEO of the National Alliance to End Homelessness (NAEH); Matthew Doherty, Executive Director of the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH); and, Jennifer Ho, Senior Advisor on Housing and Services, United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). During the briefing, experts on the panel provided an update on the current status of efforts to address homelessness and called for Congress to work together to provide more sup- port for homelessness assistance and affordable housing pro- grams, which fuel local efforts to end homelessness in commu- nities across the nation. Richard Gere, an award-win- ning actor and philanthropist who has worked on homeless- ness issues over the last 10 years, provided a powerful account of his recent experience playing a homeless man, and a particular scene where he pan- handles on the streets of New York City. During this experi- ence, Gere came to understand first-hand what it feels like to be ignored, disregarded, and left isolated and alone after standing on a corner for over 45 minutes. "Homelessness affects the very fabric of our communities and diminishes the dignity of the individuals it touches. I'm proud to join Mr. Gere and the experts on this distinguished panel to shine a light on an issue that has concerned me for quite some time," said Ranking Member Waters. "The progress we've made toward the goal of ending homelessness is significant but uneven across the country. We must do more to build bipartisan support to provide the necessary resources for federal homeless- ness and affordable housing pro- grams, or run the risk of stalling the critical progress we've made as a nation toward ending home- lessness once and for all." According to the 2014 point- in-time survey, on any given day in January, 2014 there were 578,424 people experiencing homelessness, including almost 100,000 chronically homeless individuals and families, almost 50,000 homeless veterans, and about 45,000 unaccompanied homeless children and youth. In particular, chronic homelessness remains a persistent challenge for American communities, with (Cont. on Page A-6)

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