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Ellen Trawick and Police Accountability Leaders Outraged by NYPD’s Refusal to Discipline Officers Responsible for Killing Kawaski Trawick in His Home

Family & Activists Call on CCRB to substantiate misconduct by Thompson & Davis

Today, it was made public by ProPublica that the NYPD found “no wrongdoing” in the 2019 killing of Kawaski Trawick by NYPD Officers Brendan Thompson and Herbert Davis. Kawaski Trawick was cooking in his home when officers Thompson and Davis broke the chain of his apartment door, tased him without cause, and shot him—killing him within just 112 seconds.

In response to the news that the NYPD’s internal investigation found no wrongdoing and has imposed no discipline, Kawaski Trawick’s family and police accountability leaders are renewing calls for the Civilian Complaint Review Board to substantiate misconduct charges so that a discipline trial can move forward to fire Officers Thompson and Davis. The CCRB is currently investigating the incident and has the authority to substantiate misconduct in cases, even when the NYPD chooses not to.    

Kawaski Trawick’s family learned of the NYPD’s internal decision from media, and not from the NYPD or the City.

Kawaski Trawick’s mother, Ellen Trawick, the Justice Committee, the Trawick family’s attorney, Royce Russell, and Communities United for Police Reform released the following statements:

"Two years ago, my son, Kawaski Trawick, was cooking in his own home when the NYPD broke the chain on his door, tased him and then shot and killed him in a span of just 112 seconds. To find out from press that the NYPD is basically claiming the officers did nothing wrong when they murdered my son is painful and disrespectful," said Ellen Trawick (she/her), mother of Kawaski Trawick. "My son should be alive today and Mayor de Blasio and the NYPD should be ashamed of themselves for their refusal to fire Thompson & Davis and for making me learn this news from press instead of from them. Since it seems like the NYPD rigged their so-called review to protect the officers instead of New Yorkers, I am calling on the Civilian Complaint Review Board to substantiate charges against Officers Brendan Thompson and Herbert Davis so that they can be fired and can no longer pose a threat to other New Yorkers."

"The NYPD has refused to discipline officers who killed Kawaski Trawick, proving their complete lack of respect and cavalier attitude toward the Trawick family's fight for accountability," said Loyda Colon (they/them), Executive Director of the Justice Committee. "Officers Herbert Davis and Brendan Thompson, broke the chain off Kawaski's door while he was cooking dinner, tased him, and shot him, killing him all within 112 second of arriving. It's been two years since Kawaski was killed, and since then Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark refused to prosecute, Mayor de Blasio has not yet fired the officers, and now the NYPD is lying and claiming there was no wrongdoing—each disappointing milestone adds insult to injury for the Trawick family. We continue to stand with the Trawick family as they go forward with their CCRB complaint, and despite the NYPD's refusal to discipline, we demand that Mayor de Blasio immediately fire Brendan Thompson and Herbert Davis."

"It's appalling that the NYPD will not be disciplining officers Herbert Davis and Brendan Thompson for killing Kawaski Trawick," said Royce Russell (he/him), attorney for the Trawick family. "This is not accountability and this is not justice. The NYPD's decision is a continuation of the disrespect the family has endured for the past two years since Kawaski was killed. We will continue do everything we can to ensure officers Thompson and Davis are held accountable and fired from the NYPD." 

“We're disgusted but not surprised that the NYPD's internal investigation found no wrongdoing on the part of police who killed Kawaski Trawick, a Black queer man, in his own home,” said Ileana Méndez-Peñate (she/her), spokesperson for Communities United for Police Reform. “This is another example of Mayor de Blasio and the NYPD trying to gaslight New Yorkers by falsely claiming our eyes are lying. NYPD Officers Brendan Thompson & Herbert Davis escalated at every step. They broke the chain on Kawaski's door, yelled commands while refusing to answer his repeated and reasonable question of ‘why are you in my home?’, tased him when he posed no risk, and then shot and killed him - all in a span of 112 seconds. The fact that Kawaski's mother had to learn of the NYPD's decision from the press is inexcusable disrespect to this family, but business as usual for de Blasio and the NYPD. We call on the CCRB to substantiate charges against Thompson and Davis, and swiftly convene a disciplinary trial to fire them.”


On April 14, 2019, 32-year-old Kawaski Trawick, a Black queer man, 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. Kawaski asked the officers multiple times “Why are you in my home?” and explained, “I’m cooking.” The officers repeatedly escalated the incident by breaking the chain on Kawaski's door to enter the apartment, refused to answer Kawaski when he repeatedly asked “Why are you in my home?” and instead shouted orders at him, tased him without cause, 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. Only one officer had a body-worn camera.

The NYPD refused to release full, unedited footage of the incident for almost two years – only releasing 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 of Kawaski’s killing can be heard responding, “Nobody, just a perp” when asked if anyone was injured, and it is clear that Thompson and Davis did not immediately provide care to Kawaski after he was shot.

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 abusive and 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