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Forty Elected Officials Call on Mayor Adams & Commissioner Sewell to Let April Discipline Trial Proceed Against Officers Who Killed Kawaski Trawick
New York, NY – Today, Thursday, March 16th, 40 New York state and city elected officials sent a letter to Mayor Adams and Commissioner Sewell calling on them to deny a last-minute request from police union lawyers to dismiss disciplinary charges against NYPD Officers Brendan Thompson and Herbert Davis for killing Kawaski Trawick on April 14, 2019. Signatories include NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, NYC Comptroller Brad Lander, NYC Council Speaker Adrienne Adams, NYC Council Member Pierina Sanchez (who represents the district where Mr. Trawick was killed), NYS Senator Jessica Ramos, and other city and state officials, including members of the City Council’s Black, Latino & Asian and Progressive Caucuses.
In the letter, state and city elected officials call on Mayor Adams and Commissioner Sewell to allow the disciplinary trial – scheduled to begin on April 24th – to move forward next month without interference:
“This last-ditch ploy by the police union lawyers is fundamentally unfair to the Trawick family and to New Yorkers. This request by the police union lawyers is being made two years after CCRB first substantiated charges and months after NYPD Deputy Commissioner Maldonado set the dates for the discipline trial to begin next month, on April 24th. In fact, the PBA request – made behind closed doors – is equivalent to trying to broker a last-minute backroom deal to prevent the disciplinary trial from moving forward,” reads the letter signed by elected officials.
The letter from elected officials notes that there have been no consequences against the officers in the past four years, despite formal charges of misconduct that are currently being prosecuted by the Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB).
“We respectfully request that you quickly reject – as soon as possible, this month – the PBA’s latest attempt to undermine accountability so that they are not able to further delay the scheduled discipline trial. Dismissing the CCRB charges and specifications and removing the CCRB from this case at this stage, almost four years after Kawaski Trawick was killed, would undermine faith in government,” reads the letter.
Read the letter from elected officials here.
Quotes from Kawaski Trawick’s parents, Council Member Pierina Sanchez and Loyda Colon, Executive Director of the Justice Committee and member of Communities United for Police Reform:
"What the police union lawyers are trying to do right now is disgusting and adds to the pain our family has already had to endure for the past four years," said Ellen and Rickie Trawick, parents of Kawaski Trawick. "Every time we think there's a chance for accountability it seems like the police union and Officers Brendan Thompson and Herbert Davis find a new trick to try to block what's right. Next month will be four years since our son was murdered and Officers Thompson and Davis should have already been fired for murdering Kawaski. We applaud the elected officials supporting us to make sure that the police union can't just change the rules behind closed doors, weeks before the discipline trial is scheduled. This support means a lot because we live outside of New York and it's been so hard to fight for some kind of justice when we're not there. Now we need Mayor Adams and Commissioner Sewell to do what's right and reject the police union lawyers' request so the trial can move forward in April."
"One name is too many. One smile gone is a pain too deep. The Trawick family has waited for accountability for four years. As the Council Member representing the district where Kawaski Trawick was killed and as an executive committee member of the Black, Latino and Asian Caucus, I see it as my responsibility to ensure that the Trawick family has a fair opportunity for accountability in this case," said Council Member Pierina Sanchez. "As elected officials, it is our duty to ensure that agency misconduct is investigated to the fullest powers of the City charter and I'm proud to join city and state colleagues in calling on the Mayor and Commissioner to reject the latest attempt by police union lawyers to undermine the police disciplinary process, a gross and unacceptable regression from accountability, and this City must do better. CCRB should be able to proceed with the discipline trial as scheduled, on April 24th, without interference."
"This last-ditch effort by PBA lawyers to dismiss discipline charges against Officers Brendan Thompson and Herbert Davis is desperate and anti-democratic," said Loyda Colon, Executive Director of the Justice Committee and member of Communities United for Police Reform. "They've known about the discipline charges since 2021, they've known the trial was scheduled to start on April 24th since last year. There's no excuse for Thompson and Davis waiting until weeks before the trial to try to block discipline. They're using dirty tricks to try to cut a backroom deal and avoid consequences for killing Kawaski. Mayor Adams and Commissioner Sewell should deny the request immediately so there are no more delays to the trial."
On April 14, 2019, Mr. Trawick locked himself out of his apartment while he was cooking. The super at the assisted living facility where Mr. Trawick lived refused to let him back in so Mr. Trawick called 911 for the fire department. Fire department arrived and let Mr. Trawick back into his apartment. Mr. Trawick was cooking in his home after the situation had been resolved and NYPD officers Thompson and Davis illegally entered Mr. Trawicks apartment and murdered him in 112 seconds.
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.
In November 2022, NYPD Deputy Commissioner Rosemarie Maldonado scheduled the discipline trial of Thompson & Davis to begin on April 24, 2023.
Kawaski was a Black gay man, a son, and a brother, who was pursuing his dreams as a dancer, teacher, and entrepreneur in New York City.