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One Day After Guilty Chauvin Verdict in MN, NYC Community Groups & Elected Officials Slam Mayor de Blasio and NYPD After “No Wrongdoing was Found” in NYPD Killing of Kawaski Trawick

- Community groups called on the CCRB to substantiate misconduct against officers who killed Kawaski Trawick and renewed calls to schedule a discipline trial for officer who killed Delrawn Small -

On Wednesday, Communities United for Police Reform (CPR), Justice Committee, and other CPR members rallied at 1 Police Plaza where they were joined by elected officials to call on Mayor de Blasio to stop commenting on police killings in other cities while there are police killings in NYC that have not been addressed. They also slammed Mayor de Blasio & NYPD’s routine refusals to hold officers who kill accountable, just one day after Derek Chauvin was found guilty of murdering George Floyd.

On April 20th, ProPublica revealed that an NYPD internal investigation found no wrongdoing in the NYPD killing of Kawaski Trawick and that the NYPD has no plans to discipline officers Brendan Thompson and Herbert Davis, who killed Kawaski in 2019. Kawaski Trawick’s family learned this from the press instead of being notified by the City or NYPD.

Wayne Isaacs, who killed Delrawn Small in 2016, has still not had a disciplinary trial scheduled.

In response to the news that the NYPD’s internal investigation found no wrongdoing and has imposed no discipline on officers Thompson and Davis, Kawaski Trawick’s family and police accountability leaders are calling for the Civilian Complaint Review Board to substantiate misconduct charges so that a discipline trial can move forward to fire Officers Thompson and Davis. Victoria Davis and Victor Dempsey, siblings of Delrawn Small who was killed by NYPD officer Wayne Isaacs in 2016, called for NYPD to stop obstructing the CCRB prosecution, to release all files to the CCRB, and to schedule a CCRB trial for Wayne Isaacs at today’s press conference.

Below are statements from speakers in response to the NYPD’s refusal to discipline officers:

Loyda Colon (they/them), Executive Director of the Justice Committee: “Mayor de Blasio, talks about police killings in other cities while obstructing justice and accountability here in New York. Yesterday, we found out the NYPD said there will be no discipline for officers Brendan Thompson and Herbert Davis who broke the chain off Kawaski Trawick's door while he was cooking, tased him, and shot him, killing him all within 112 seconds of arriving at his home. Mayor de Blasio has not yet fired the officers, and now the NYPD is lying and claiming there was no wrongdoing. We’re calling on the CCRB to substantiate charges against Brendan Thompson and Herbert Davis, and calling on the Mayor and NYPD to stop obstructing the disciplinary trial for Wayne Isaacs who killed Delrawn Small.”

Ileana Méndez-Peñate (she/her), spokesperson for Communities United for Police Reform. “Too many officers, who have killed New Yorkers, have suffered no consequences for their actions. 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. Delrawn Small’s family has been waiting for months for the NYPD to schedule a discipline trial for the officer, Wayne Isaacs, who killed Delrawn. Mayor de Blasio should be ashamed. We call on the CCRB to substantiate charges against Thompson and Davis, and swiftly convene a disciplinary trial to fire them and Wayne Isaacs.”

Royce Russell (he/him), attorney for the Trawick Family: "When will New York stand up and hold NYPD officers accountable for what we all see with our own eyes. Mayor de Blasio needs to stop protecting those that do not deserve protection and start serving those in need. Mayoral candidates, take notice that NYC is not setting the trend as it relates to police accountability, but is following. We need a leader who will hold officers who kill, like Brendan Thompson and Herbert Davis, accountable. We will continue to fight for Kawaski Trawick' s family to ensure these officers are fired from the force."

Victoria Davis (she/her), sister of Delrawn Small: “Wayne Isaacs killed our brother over four and half years ago, in the middle of one of the busiest streets in Brooklyn, and it was on video—a video that the Mayor hasn’t even bothered to watch. When we hear about how the NYPD found ‘no wrongdoing’ and isn’t going substantiate charges against officers Brendan Thompson and Herbert Davis, who killed Kawaski Trawick, our hearts break for the Trawick family. We know exactly how it feels and there are too many other families who know exactly how it feels. It needs to end. We’re calling on the Mayor de Blasio and the NYPD to stop obstructing the disciplinary trial of Wayne Isaacs for killing Delrawn, and we’re calling on the CCRB to substantiate charges against Brendan Thompson and Herbert Davis.” 

NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams: "Kawaski Trawick deserved justice and accountability - he deserved to live. And our systems robbed him of all three. I understand the complexities of the situation, the need to make quick decisions in emergency situations. But I don't know how you can look at this case, look at this video, and conclude that no one did anything wrong. To say that there was no wrongdoing in this case is to blatantly ignore both systemic and individual failures, and invite them to perpetuate. This is a reminder that we don't need to look to Minneapolis for injustice in policing and the tragedy that results - only to Morris Heights."

Council Member Brad Lander: "Kawaski Trawick was killed in his own kitchen while cooking, shot by officers who pulled the trigger within seconds of arriving and busting open his door. But the NYPD said they did nothing wrong. I'm joining his family, and organizers in calling on the CCRB to substantiate the misconduct in this case, and on our Mayor and Police Commissioner to hold the officers responsible accountable."

Council Member Antonio Reynoso: ""The tragic and entirely preventable death of Kawaski Trawick is a moral stain on our city and yet another example of the NYPD's failure to hold officers accountable. Time and again we witness instances of officers using excessive force with complete impunity and the NYPD consistently works to frame the victim as somehow responsible as was highlighted in yesterday's troubling ProPublica report. It is past time that we take the responsibility for holding bad officers accountable out of the hands of the NYPD. I look forward to working with victims, advocates, and my colleagues to ensure that justice is delivered for Kawaski Trawick and that we enact the systemic reform necessary to ensure no family has to endure this kind of heartbreak again." 

 Assembly Member Harvey Epstein: “Kawaski Trawick should be alive today. Officers Herbert Davis and Brendan Thompson entered his home with force and killed him. Those are the facts. They should be fired and charged with murder.”

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. "Yesterday's conviction of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd is not just the end of a trial — it is the beginning of a mass movement to rebuild our criminal justice system into one that treats Black and brown lives with the dignity and respect they deserve. As we cheer accountability and justice being served for George Floyd, we must double down on our efforts to seek the same for Kawaski Trawick and all those who have suffered injustice at the very hands of those sworn to protect and serve them."

Council Member Adrienne Adams: “The police officers who killed Kawaski Trawick must be held accountable for their actions. Anything less would be unacceptable. I support the call for the Civilian Complaint Review Board to substantiate misconduct charges against the officers and demand justice for the Trawick family.”

Councilwoman Carlina Rivera:  "The NYPD's gross mishandling of the investigation into Kawaski Trawick's killing and the department's unwillingness to provide evidence and resources to the CCRB just shows how ineffective our current systems of accountability are for investigating police misconduct. And it's unconscionable that no one in City Hall even reached out to let the Trawick family know that the NYPD's investigation had concluded. I call on the CCRB to substantiate these misconduct chargers and ensure that a disciplinary trial occurs so that the officers involved in this killing are fired and a modicum of accountability is provided for the Trawick family."

More Information on the NYPD killing of Kawaski Trawick:

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.

More Information on the NYPD killing of Delrawn Small:

On July 4, 2016, in East New York, Brooklyn, 37-year-old Delrawn Small was shot and killed by NYPD Officer Wayne Isaacs. The killing occurred just one day before Alton Sterling was killed by police in Louisiana and two days prior to Philando Castile being killed by police in Minnesota. Officers in both cases are no longer with their respective police departments, while Isaacs is still employed by the NYPD more than four and a half years later. Isaacs killed Delrawn in front of his loved ones, including his four-month-old son, 14-year-old stepdaughter, and girlfriend.

Initial false accounts from Isaacs and the NYPD claimed that the officer was being assaulted when he fired his weapon, but nearby surveillance video, released days after these false accounts saturated media coverage of the killing, discredited Isaacs’ and the NYPD’s claims. The footage showed that Isaacs shot Delrawn Small, who was unarmed, within seconds and without provocation, contradicting the initial accounts Isaacs and the NYPD made. After shooting Small, Isaacs left him to bleed to death on the ground, offering no emergency aid and never even communicating that he had shot someone in his 911 call. Isaacs also never sought to check on Small’s health and well-being after firing his weapon, leaving Small to bleed out and die in the street.

Isaacs was charged and prosecuted for murder by the NYS Attorney General’s office in the first case the office prosecuted after Governor Cuomo's 2015 executive order authorizing the AG to investigate police killings.

In October of 2020, the NYPD agreed to serve disciplinary charges on Isaacs that were substantiated by the CCRB, but a discipline trial for Wayne Isaacs has not been scheduled and Isaacs is suing to prevent the Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) from prosecuting his case.

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: Delrawn Small Kawaski Trawick