Advocates and elected officials rally for officers who killed Black gay man, Kawaski Trawick, in his own home to be fired: Family demands meeting with Mayor before decision is made.
New York, New York - Today, community organizations, New York City elected officials, and people from across all five boroughs joined together to rally against the NYPD deputy commissioner’s recommendation that the charges be dropped against officers Brendan Thompson and Herbert Davis. Kawaski Trawick, a 32-year-old Black gay man, was cooking in his own Bronx apartment when officers Thompson and Davis broke the chain on his door, illegally entered his apartment, and then tased and shot him within 112 seconds in 2019.
At the rally, elected officials, Justice Committee, VOCAL-NY, Housing Works, Make the Road NY, Communities United for Police Reform (CPR), El Puente, Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, Equality for Flatbush, Katal Center, and others, called on Mayor Adams and Commissioner Caban to take immediate action to reject the draft recommendation and fire the officers who killed Kawaski Trawick.
“The anguish we have had to face since our son was murdered in his own home is unbearable, a weight no parent should ever have to hold.” said Ellen Trawick, mother of Kawaski Trawick in a statement. “Mayor Adams has never once said our son’s name publicly, or responded to the letter we sent him when the trial ended, or given any sign he cares. He should be embarrassed that he’s allowing officers who kill New Yorkers to keep going to work and pulling a paycheck for years, all while dodging discipline for murdering our son. We’re demanding that Mayor Adams meet with us and our team before Commissioner Caban makes a final decision. That’s the least the Mayor can do and if he cares about fairness, we know that after meeting with us and our team he’ll have no choice but to make sure that the NYPD’s final decision is to fire Thompson and Davis.”
NYPD Deputy Commissioner Rosemarie Maldonado’s shocking recommendation hinges largely on the assertion that the Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) did not serve the charges within the correct time frame. However, it was the NYPD who delayed the charges and the trial at every turn.
"The NYPD could have brought discipline charges themselves but instead they took 20 months to run a sham investigation where Thompson & Davis were questioned for less than 30 minutes each," said Loyda Colon, Executive Director of the Justice Committee and member of Communities United for Police Reform (CPR). "The NYPD delayed & obstructed CCRB from running an investigation for 21 months – and now this NYPD deputy commissioner is trying to blame CCRB when CCRB substantiated misconduct in just 5 months after getting the blocked BWC footage from NYPD. If Mayor Adams & Commissioner Caban don’t reject this backwards recommendation and fire Thompson & Davis, they’ll be sending a clear message to all cops who kill that no matter the facts, they’ll be shielded by NYPD from any discipline -- because NYPD will cover-up, delay, obstruct, and refuse to substantiate misconduct -- and then blame CCRB for the NYPD’s delays – a dangerous precedent impacting all cases where police kill New Yorkers."
Kawaski Trawick’s family, advocates and community members have been demanding that Thompson and Davis be fired for years. The NYPD has intentionally delayed these decisions at every turn. For almost two years, the NYPD did not release any video and when it did, it was incomplete. The department did not let anyone see the full video until a judge ordered its release. After Kawaski was killed, the NYPD did not turn over body camera footage for 21 months, deliberately blocking the CCRB from doing a timely investigation. Internal investigation reports show that the NYPD investigation was a sham, and investigators did not spend more than 30 minutes interviewing either Thompson or Davis. Not a single question was asked about what the video footage showed or when Thompson or Davis contradicted the footage or each other.
“What we are witnessing during this administration is a true lack of willpower and courage to hold employees accountable. To not render a recommendation to fire but to hint to liability, wrong-doing and misconduct is not leadership. The motivation of fear of the Blue Loyalty is devastating. Police protect police and it’s up to the public to protect the people.” said Royce Russell, attorney for the Trawick family.
"We’ve been through two mayoral administrations and four police commissioners since Kawaski Trawick was killed. It’s been more than four years of cover-ups, delays and obstruction. This bad recommendation blaming the CCRB for not meeting a deadline that NYPD obstruction made impossible for them to meet is nonsense and could let these dangerous officers walk away with no consequences for taking Kawaski’s life. This puts all New Yorkers at risk and sends yet another message that Black gay lives do not matter to this administration. Mayor Adams & Commissioner Caban must reject the recommendation and fire Thompson and Davis,” said Jawanza Williams, Managing Director of Organizing at VOCAL-NY.
“I’m angry at the recommendation that Commissioner Maldonado gave yesterday to drop all charges against the officers that killed Kawaski Trawick. Alongside other young people, I have been fighting for Kawaski to get the justice he deserves and this is not it. Despite this cruel recommendation by Commissioner Maldonado, I am demanding that the Mayor and the NYPD Commissioner fire the officers involved in murdering Kawaski Trawick. That would be the first step toward justice for Kawaski and his family,” said Camilla, 16 years old, Make the Road New York Youth Member.
“The NYPD kill Black and brown New Yorkers at disproportionate rates. Officers Thompson and Davis demonstrated the most lethal form of this racism when they shot and killed Kawaski Trawick in his home 112 seconds after arriving at his door. Housing Works demands that Mayor Eric Adams and NYPD Commissioner Edward Caban immediately fire Officers Thompson and Davis for this extrajudicial killing. If the Mayor and Commissioner refuse to act, they will set a precedent suggesting that the NYPD can force their way into anyone’s houses and shoot them on sight,” stated Anthony Feliciano, VP Advocacy for Housing Works.
Statement on behalf of Mrs. Ellen Trawick and Mr. Rickie Trawick, Thursday September 28, 2023
The anguish we have had to face since our son, Kawasaki Trawick, was murdered in his own home is unbearable, a weight no parent should ever have to hold. There are two things that make that pain and suffering worse:
- Every holiday and family event where Kawaski isn’t here. We just buried Kawaski’s grandmother, who he loved and that’s why we couldn’t come to NYC right now. And this past summer was the birth of Kawaski’s first niece. Our son should be alive and it hurts that he’s not here for these moments.
- The second thing is experiencing the stunning disregard and power of the NYPD close up for more than 4 years. The NYPD investigation was a sham - Thompson and Davis were only interviewed for 30 minutes each . And this internal recommendation is a sham. They have rigged this entire system and process to block any accountability and protect these cops who broke into Kawaski’s home and shot him in a matter of seconds.
Anyone who saw the video, which the NYPD kept hidden so it took 20 months to be released, knows our son should be alive and that Thompson and Davis did wrong and they should be fired.
For the NYPD’s deputy commissioner to try to protect Thompson and Davis by trying to blame us or the CCRB for the NYPD’s delays and cover ups is not just ridiculous, it’s cruel and dangerous for New Yorkers.
Our son came to NYC to pursue his dream of being a professional dancer, but he was murdered while he was cooking in what should’ve been the safety of his home by Officers Brendan Thompson and Herbert Davis more than 4 years ago.
There shouldn’t be double-standards for police. They’re trained to de-escalate but all they did with Kawaski was create a crisis when there was none and then escalate at every turn. They escalated when they broke the chain on Kawaski’s door to gain illegal entry to his apartment when there was no emergency, they escalated when they refused to tell him why they had broken into his home and instead just yelled non-stop orders at him, they escalated when they tased him for no reason, they escalated when they shot at him four times - all of this in 112 seconds. And then they closed the door on him to bleed out and die.
Anyone who’s seen the video, anyone who sat in the discipline trial, anyone who’s fair knows that Brendan Thompson and Herbert Davis should be fired. They should’ve been fired 4 years ago. In fact if it was you or us, they would’ve been locked up four years ago.
Mayor Adams has never once said our son’s name publicly, or responded to the letter we sent him when the trial ended, or given any sign he cares. He should be embarrassed that he’s allowing officers who kill New Yorkers to keep going to work and pulling a paycheck for years, all while dodging discipline for murdering our son. Following this outrageous internal recommendation, it’s now up to Mayor Adams and his new police commissioner to reject this sham recommendation and finally do right by our family and New Yorkers by firing Officers Thompson and Davis.
We’re demanding that Mayor Adams meet with us and our team before Commissioner Caban makes a final decision. That’s the least the Mayor can do and if he cares about fairness, we know that after meeting with us and our team he’ll have no choice but to make sure that the NYPD’s final decision is to fire Thompson and Davis.
About the Justice Committee:
Since the 1980s, the Justice Committee (JC) has been dedicated to building a movement against police violence and systemic racism in New York City. The heart of our work is organizing and uplifting the leadership of families who have lost loved ones to the police and survivors of police violence. We empower our community to deter police violence, hold law enforcement accountable, and build people-led community safety through grassroots organizing campaigns, community empowerment, political education, our CopWatch program, and by developing safety mechanisms and projects that decrease reliance on police. By building solidarity with other anti-racist, immigrant and people of color-led organizations, the Justice Committee seeks to contribute to a broad-based movement for racial, social, and economic justice.
About Communities United for Police Reform:
Communities United for Police Reform (CPR) is an unprecedented campaign to end discriminatory and abusive policing practices in New York, and to build a lasting movement that promotes public safety and reduces reliance on policing. CPR runs coalitions of over 200 local, statewide and national organizations, bringing together a movement of community members, grassroots organizers, lawyers, researchers and activists to work for change.
About Communities United for Police Reform
Communities United for Police Reform (CPR) is an unprecedented campaign to end discriminatory policing practices in New York, and to build a lasting movement that promotes public safety and reduces reliance on policing. CPR runs coalitions of over 200 local, statewide and national organizations, bringing together a movement of community members, lawyers, researchers and activists to work for change. The partners in this campaign come from all 5 boroughs, from all walks of life and represent many of those most unfairly targeted by the NYPD.Topics: Kawaski Trawick