UPDATE Police Commissioner Determines “No Crime” by Officers Involved in Shooting of Kawaski Trawick

April 19, 2024
Norwood News

Police Commissioner Edward A. Caban has determined that the two NYPD officers involved in the fatal shooting of Kawaski Trawick on April 14, 2019, inside his supportive housing apartment located at at 1616 Grand Avenue in the Morris Heights section of The Bronx, acted within the law in relation to their actions leading up to what was described by police as “the 32-year-old man’s tragic death.”


On April 10, nearly five years after the death of Kawaski, a Black, gay man, his family, racial justice organizations, and elected officials rallied on the steps of City Hall to demand Mayor Eric Adams and the police commissioner “end” delays and “fire” NYPD Officers Brendan Thompson and Herbert Davis for his death.


The rally was organized by groups that had been working closely with Kawaski’s family on the justice campaign, including Justice Committee, Make the Road NY, Housing Works, NYC Anti-Violence Project, VOCAL-NY, El Puente, Showing Up for Racial Justice-NYC, and Communities United for Police Reform (CPR).


According to the family and various justice advocates, Officers Thompson and Davis “broke the chain on Trawick’s door, gained illegal entry into his apartment, and tased and shot him within 112 seconds.” They also allege “neither of the officers attempted to administer emergency medical aid and let Trawick bleed out on the floor as Herbert Davis held the door shut.” Norwood News has reached out to the NYPD for comment.


On the night of the incident, according to police bodycam video, Kawaski held a bread knife and a stick in his hand as police entered the doorway of his apartment. He continued to ask them why they were there, and they repeatedly asked him to put the knife down while at least one officer had a taser gun raised and pointing at him. According to reporting by Propublica, Kawaski had earlier called the FDNY, falsely claiming there was a fire, in order to gain access to his own apartment as he had been locked out, and on arrival, the FDNY had let him back in.


The outlet also reported that four 911 calls had come in about Kawaski in quick succession around the same time. A little after 10:40 p.m., it was reported that a security guard said he had been “harassing” neighbors. A bodycam video of the incident, released on Dec. 8, 2020, is attached further below.


In a statement read at the April 10th rally by Shannon Bland, Kawasaki’s cousin, Mrs. Ellen and Mr. Rickie Trawick, Kawaski’s parents, said, ”There is no good excuse for why Thompson and Davis aren’t already fired. Plain and simple, Thompson stole Kawaski’s life and Davis helped him do it. It’s been a year since their discipline trial and we can’t believe that Mayor Adams has let this carry on so long without a decision to fire Thompson and Davis.”


They continued in part, “Our hearts go out to the Rozario family, whose 19-year-old son [Win Rozario] was also killed by the NYPD in a situation that’s similar to Kawaski. In both cases, the police came, created a crisis, and killed our sons in seconds.” For years, Kawaski’s parents worked with the Justice Committee, Communities United for Police Reform and others to call for the firing of Thompson and Davis, alleging police cover-ups.


In the context of the rally, local District 14 City Council Member Pierina Sanchez had said of the investigation, “It’s been five years since Kawaski Trawick was tragically killed in his own home at the hands of two NYPD officers. My heart continues to be with his loved ones left grieving and seeking accountability for his death. As the Council Member representing the district where Kawaski Trawick lived and was killed, I continue to support and fight alongside the Trawick family in their quest for accountability.”


She continued, “As we remember Kawaski, we demand the NYPD fire these officers and strive to create the change that ensures such a tragedy can never happen again. The facts in this case are clear, as highlighted by CCRB’s substantiating evidence of NYPD misconduct: accountability means termination of the officers who took Kawaski’s life.”

Topics: Kawaski Trawick