New York, NY
Today, the family of Kawaski Trawick, Communities United for Police Reform, and the Justice Committee are demanding that the NYPD, Mayor de Blasio, and Commissioner Shea immediately serve charges on NYPD Officers Brendan Thompson and Herbert Davis and schedule their disciplinary trial related to the killing of Kawaski Trawick, following the CCRB’s formal filing of charges against the officers with the NYPD. Last week, the CCRB filed charges with the NYPD for the officers’ misconduct, including their illegal entry by force, unjustified taser use, unjustified shooting, and failure to provide medical treatment after Kawaski Trawick, 32, was killed by Thompson and Davis in his apartment in 2019.
Once CCRB charges are filed with the NYPD, the NYPD must serve the charges on the individual officers, so an administrative trial can be scheduled. The NYPD has unnecessarily delayed this process in major police killing cases, including for months with Officer Wayne Isaacs who killed Delrawn Small in 2016 and almost a year for Officer Daniel Pantaleo, who killed Eric Garner in 2014. The family of Kawaski Trawick and organizers are calling for Mayor de Blasio, Commissioner Shea, and the NYPD to serve the charges immediately, schedule an administrative trial, and fire Officers Thompson and Davis.
Below are statements from Kawaski Trawick’s parents, Ellen and Ricky; Loyda Colon, Executive Director of the Justice Committee; Ileana Mendez-Peñate, Communities United for Police Reform spokesperson; and Royce Russell, the Trawick Family’s attorney.
“It’s been well over two years since our son was murdered by NYPD Officers Brendan Thompson and Herbert Davis in his own home, and nobody has been held accountable,” said Ellen Trawick (she/her) and Ricky Trawick (he/him), parents of Kawaski Trawick. “Mayor de Blasio and the NYPD have done nothing but obstruct transparency and mislead the public about what happened — making our family’s suffering worse. We are tired of the delays. The CCRB substantiated charges against Thompson and Davis and we demand the NYPD serve the charges and schedule an administrative trial – not months or years in the future, but immediately. Our son was cooking in his own home when Officers Thompson and Davis killed him in just 112 seconds after arriving and escalating the encounter at every turn. Brendan Thompson and Herbert Davis are a danger to New Yorkers and we demand that Mayor de Blasio stop delaying and obstructing and the NYPD fire them.”
“We are demanding that Mayor de Blasio and the NYPD fire Officers Brendan Thompson and Herbert Davis for the killing of Kawaski Trawick in 2019,” said Loyda Colon (they/them), Executive Director of the Justice Committee. “We’ve been demanding accountability for over 2 years and now that the CCRB has filed charges with the NYPD for the officers’ killing of Kawaski and abuse of authority, there is no reason for the NYPD to delay serving those charges or scheduling an administrative trial. Kawaski Trawick’s family has suffered through years of pain caused by the NYPD and Mayor de Blasio who have refused to fire Officers Thompson and Davis. It’s unacceptable that these dangerous officers are still on the streets, Mayor de Blasio must fire Thompson and Davis.”
“Time and again we’ve seen Mayor de Blasio and the NYPD try to avoid firing and delay accountability for officers who have killed or New Yorkers,” said Ileana Mendez-Peñate (she/her), spokesperson for Communities United for Police Reform. “Mayor de Blasio must not allow the NYPD to delay the firings of Officers Brendan Thompson and Herbert Davis any longer—they killed Kawaski Trawick in the place he was supposed to feel safest, his own home. The NYPD must serve the charges on Officers Thompson and Davis immediately, without delay, and schedule an administrative trial immediately so these officers can finally be fired.”
“Kawaski Trawick was in his own home when Officers Brendan Thompson and Herbert Davis illegally entered Mr. Trawick’s apartment, unjustifiably tased and shot him, killing him, and failed to obtain medical care,” said Royce Russell, attorney for the Trawick Family. “There’s no reason why these officers should still be on the force today. Now that the CCRB filed charges with the NYPD, we expect that the NYPD serve those charges on the officers and an administrative trial be scheduled immediately so the Trawick family can finally get the accountability they deserve and the officers can be fired.”
On April 14, 2019, 32-year-old Kawaski Trawick was locked out of his apartment at Hill House in the Bronx. The fire department let him into his apartment. By the time NYPD officers Brendan Thompson and Herbert Davis arrived, Kawaski was already back in his apartment cooking. After Davis broke the chain on Kawaski’s door with his baton to illegally gain entry, Kawaski asked the officers multiple times “Why are you in my home?” and explained, “I’m cooking.” The officers repeatedly escalated the incident including when Davis used his baton to break the chain on Kawaski's door to enter the apartment, and both Davis and Thompson refused to answer Kawaski when he repeatedly asked “Why are you in my home?”. Both officers shouted orders at Kawaski, refused to answer his questions, Thompson tased him without cause, and then shot and killed Kawaski within 112 seconds of their arrival. The NYPD sensationalized the fact that Kawaski was holding a bread knife to justify shooting him, but he was holding a knife because he was cooking - and didn’t pose a threat. Only one officer, Brendan Thompson, had his body-worn camera.
The NYPD refused to release full, unedited footage of the incident for almost two years – only releasing partial unedited footage to a legal organization, following a FOIL request. In December 2020, the NYPD-released a selectively edited and incomplete video of some of the body camera footage. In footage that the NYPD later released to the legal organization, officers on the scene immediately after Kawaski’s killing can be heard saying, “Nobody, just a perp” in response to an officer asking who was injured. It is also clear that Thompson and Davis did not immediately provide care to Kawaski after he was shot.
In April 2021, it was made public through a ProPublica report that the NYPD found “no wrongdoing” on the part of Thompson and Davis. Kawaski’s family found out about the NYPD’s refusal to discipline Thompson and Davis through the news media. The CCRB voted to substantiate charges against Thompson and Davis in June 2021. The family is calling on the NYPD to immediately serve the charges that the CCRB filed against the officers and schedule their administrative trials.
The charges substantiated against officer Brendan Thompson include use of force for shooting Kawaski and tasing him without cause, and abuse of authority for entering Kawaski’s home and failing to obtain medical treatment after shooting Kawaski. The charges substantiated against Herbert Davis include abuse of authority for unlawfully entering Kawaski’s home including when he unjustifiably used his baton to break the chain on Kawaski’s door, and failing to obtain medical treatment.
Kawaski was a Black queer man, a son, a brother and reportedly a beloved member of the ballroom community
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, 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.