Family of Kawaski Trawick, Community Groups and Electeds Slam Police Union Attorneys for Further Delays in Disciplining Officers Who Killed Trawick
Today, the parents of Kawaski Trawick, the Justice Committee, Communities United for Police Reform, and family attorney Royce Russell attended the pre-trial court conference and gathered with elected officials, including Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, City Councilperson Pierina Sanchez, and other community supporters at One Police Plaza to denounce further obstruction and delays in the disciplinary proceedings against NYPD Officers Brendan Thompson and Herbert Davis, who killed Mr. Trawick on April 14, 2019 in the Bronx.
Mr. Trawick’s parents expected to emerge from the court conference with a start date for the administrative trial for their son’s killers, yet, at the request of Officer Thompson’s attorney, Deputy Commissioner of Trials Rosamarie Maldonado, adjourned the conference until Nov. 17 without setting a trial date.
“We’re devastated and fed up,” said Ellen Trawick, mother of Kawaski Trawick. “For three and a half years, the NYPD and Davis’ and Thompson’s PBA attorneys have put up one road block after another and today we got more of the same. We traveled all the way from Georgia to learn the trial’s start date and we’re walking away with nothing but more delays, disrespect and pain. These officers are a threat to public safety and should have been fired a long time ago. We are sick and tired of all the excuses and delay games. My family and I will not stop fighting until Mayor Adams and NYPD Commissioner Sewell fire both officers from the NYPD for murdering my son.”
The police union attorney cited an alleged conflict of interest and claimed Officer Davis now needs to secure a separate attorney as the reason for their request to delay.
“These officers should have been fired the day they illegally entered Kawaski’s apartment, tased him unprovoked, shot him, and left him to die on the floor. It’s absolutely unacceptable for Brendan Thompson and Herbert Davis to be forcing this family to wait even longer for the disciplinary trial,” said Loyda Colon, Executive Director of the Justice Committee and member of Communities United for Police Reform. “The NYPD and these cops have been playing games for years to try to block discipline. Kawaski’s family shouldn’t have to suffer these delays. Herbert Davis had the nerve to show up late to work and to today’s court conference and shouldn’t be allowed to stall his & Thompson’s firing. This last minute request for an adjournment is a cruel way to treat this grieving family, and protecting NYPD officers by delaying disciplinary proceedings for three and a half years is an act of violence against New Yorkers.”
"The fight for accountability in the death of Kawaski Trawick has now spanned more than three years and now two administrations,” said New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams. “Justice has already been too long delayed, but it cannot now be denied. Both officers contributed to this tragedy - including by escalating the circumstances that led to the shooting and failing to adequately act to save Trawick's life after the trigger was pulled. Both must be accountable- as we continue work toward protecting and producing public safety, it is impossible to make progress without accountability for past injustices. I hope that the coming trial yields consequences, and some semblance of accountability for the family of Kawaski Trawick who faces their loss today and every day for over three years."
“Kawaski should still be here, today,” said Mr. Ricky Trawick, Kawaski’s father. “He was such a loving son, a supportive brother and a caring grandson. When the NYPD murdered Kawaski they tore out light and laugher from our family. Since then, every step of the way, those in power have decided his life does not matter but his life matters to us and we will keep fighting until both officers are fired from the NYPD.”
“One name is too many. One smile gone is a pain too deep. Yet, we are gathered, almost four years later, in solidarity and support of a family who lost their son, their brother, their baby – when two officers who interacted with him for less than two minutes and killed him. Kawaski came to New York City from Georgia chasing a dream. He loved to dance and wanted to open his own dance studio to bring love and light to others. Tragedies like this, unfolding over and over, leave us and our communities in an impossible situation. Alongside Ellen and Rickie Trawick, the parents to Kawaski Trawick, I am calling for the firing of the two officers responsible. The Trawick family has waited for accountability for almost four years. The NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Trials must stop the delays, schedule the trial so that the Trawick family can finally receive accountability.” said Council Member Pierina Sanchez.
On April 14, 2019, 32-year-old Kawaski Trawick was accidentally locked out of his apartment, with food cooking on his stove in his apartment at Hill House, a supportive housing facility in the Bronx. Kawaski called 911 and was let back into his apartment by FDNY. Rather than help him get back into his apartment, unbeknownst to Kawaski, staff members at Hill House called 911, requested the NYPD and reported that Kawaski was in emotional distress. By the time NYPD Officers Brendan Thompson and Herbert Davis arrived, Kawaski was safely back in his apartment and had resumed cooking.
Officer Davis broke the chain on Kawaski’s door with his baton to illegally gain entry. Both Davis and Thompson refused to answer Kawaski, when he repeatedly asked, “Why are you in my home?” Instead, the officers escalated the situation by shouting orders and pointing a taser and a gun at Kawaski. Shortly after, Officer Thompson tased Kawaski without cause, and then shot and killed him within 112 seconds of the NYPD’s arrival. The NYPD sensationalized the fact that Kawaski was holding a bread knife to justify shooting him, in spite of the fact that he was holding the knife because he was cooking.
After shooting Kawaski, neither of the officers attempted to administer emergency medical aid. They closed the door to Kawaski’s apartment, then stood outside, leaving Kawaski to bleed out on the floor.
In June 2021, the CCRB voted to substantiate fireable charges against both officers. The charges substantiated by the CCRB against Officer Brendan Thompson include the use of force for shooting Kawaski, tasing him without cause, and abuse of authority for entering Kawaski’s home and failing to render medical aid after shooting Kawaski. The charges substantiated against Officer 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 render medical aid.
For more than a year, the Trawick family has been calling on the CCRB and NYPD to schedule the disciplinary trial and for Mayor Eric Adams and Commissioner Keeshant Sewell to fire both Officers Thompson and Davis.
Kawaski was a Black queer man, a son, and a brother, who was pursuing his dreams as a dancer, teacher, and entrepreneur in New York City.
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 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