Contact: Hilary Lyons 914-874-6815 hlyons@changethenypd.org

ELLEN TRAWICK RESPONDS TO FOOTAGE SHOWING CALLOUS NYPD IN AFTERMATH OF SON’S KILLING

NYPD officers claim “Nobody, just the perp” was hurt following the killing of Kawaski Trawick, who was cooking in his home when officers shot him

New York, NY (January 4th, 2021) – Additional body-worn camera footage showing minutes after the killing of Kawaski Trawick by NYPD officers, Herbert Davis and Brendan Thompson, was released today. Despite this release, the NYPD has still not given the full footage to Kawaski’s family, after more than a year and a half of obscuring the truth and denying his family justice. The release included the body-worn camera footage from officers who responded to Kawaski’s building that day, following the incident. Just a few minutes after Kawaski was shot, an officer arrives asking “Who’s injured” to which officers respond, “Nobody, just the perp.” 

Below is a statement responding to the release of footage from Ellen Trawick, Kawaski’s mother, and Loyda Colon, spokesperson for CPR:

"This upsets me on so many levels. I don't see why they would refer to my son as a 'perp' - he had not committed a crime, he was not committing a crime and he was in his own home," said Ellen Trawick (she/her), mother of Kawaski Trawick. "The police are the ones who were the perpetrators of violence, they killed my son and after that all they did was try to criminalize him like his life didn't matter. The only thing my son did was ask them why they were in his home. He asked multiple times and instead of answering him, they yelled orders at him, tased him and killed Kawaski in 112 seconds. It makes me even more upset because we asked the NYPD to share the full body camera footage with us and they refused. Why are they going to give that footage to someone else and not to his mother? The video the NYPD released was selectively edited and they only showed us what they wanted us to see, not everything that happened. Herbert Davis and Brendan Thompson need to be fired. It's been more than a year and a half and I want to know what are Mayor de Blasio and the NYPD waiting for to fire Davis and Thompson?" 

“The video isn't surprising but should shock and enrage New Yorkers," said Loyda Colon (they/them), a spokesperson for CPR and co-director of the Justice Committee.  "When asked who was injured after Kawaski Trawick was killed in his own home, cops callously respond 'nobody just a perp' –making the NYPD's complete disregard for Black lives crystal clear. It's insult on top of injury to this family that the NYPD refused to release the full footage directly to them. There has been no justice or transparency for the Trawick family. Brendan Thompson and Herbert Davis must be fired, the NYPD shouldn't control body camera footage, and the police need to be removed from responding to people in emotional distress.”

Background

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. Kawaski asked the officers multiple times “Why are you in my home?” and explained, “I’m just cooking.” The officers repeatedly escalated the incident by breaking the chain on Kawaski's door to enter the apartment, refusing to answer Kawaski’s questions, shouting orders at him, and then tasing and killing 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 Bronx District Attorney’s Office announced in August 2020 that they would not seek an indictment.

To the family’s knowledge, there has been no discipline of the officers by the NYPD. The family requested that they be able to view the uncut, unedited video in addition to the NYPD-produced video prior to public release and that request was rejected. 

Kawaski was a Black queer man and reportedly a beloved member of the city’s ballroom community.

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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