Updated: May 9
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE- Wednesday, April 20, 2023
Kristine Mikkelsen, email@example.com
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Days Before Hearing Begins, Charge Tossed in Disciplinary Case Against NYPD Officers Who Broke into Home of Black Gay New Yorker and Killed Him
With Latest Procedural Maneuver, NYPD Attempts to Evade Accountability in Kawaski Trawick Killing
New York, NY – Yesterday – just days before the disciplinary hearing of two NYPD officers who killed a Black gay New Yorker in his own home is set to begin – an NYPD-appointed judge has tossed one of the charges.
Despite a letter from 50 New York elected officials earlier this week urging the charges to stand and the hearing to be unimpeded, NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Trials, Rosemarie Maldonado – who is overseeing the discipline trial for NYPD Officers Brendan Thompson and Herbert Davis – took the unprecedented move of dismissing an illegal entry misconduct charge against both officers, days before the trial is set to begin. The illegal entry charge, one of multiple misconduct charges against Thompson and Davis related to their killing of Kawaski Trawick, was substantiated two years ago by the Civilian Complaint Review Board. All other misconduct charges, including those related to use of force, abuse of authority and failure to render medical aid continue to stand against the officers and will be heard during the discipline trial, scheduled to begin at 10 am on Monday, April 24, 2023, at 1 Police Plaza. If found guilty of the remaining misconduct charges, the officers may face disciplinary penalties up to, and including termination due to the seriousness of the misconduct.
There is substantial doubt that Maldonado has the authority for the unprecedented move to dismiss the illegal entry charges in a CCRB-prosecuted case, days before the discipline trial’s start. Based on a 2012 Memorandum of Understanding between the Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) and the NYPD, which governs discipline proceedings prosecuted by the CCRB, only the Police Commissioner can take such an action, and only in particular circumstances which do not apply in this case: “Such instances shall be limited to such cases in which there are parallel or related criminal investigations, or when, in the case of an officer with no disciplinary history or prior substantiated CCRB complaints, based on such officer’s record and disciplinary history the interests of justice would not be served.”
Further, the MOU requires Police Commissioner Sewell to notify the CCRB of such action in writing and then give the CCRB five business days to respond. No such notification has been made by the NYPD Commissioner and the MOU process appears to have been violated.
Loyda Colon, the Executive Director of Justice Committee and a member of Communities United for Police Reform stated: “NYPD administrative judges have much more leeway to make these kinds of calls in proceedings that aren’t prosecuted by CCRB - Maldonado had no such authority here and what she did was a clear violation of the MOU between CCRB and NYPD. It’s possible that Maldonado doesn’t even realize she’s violating the process because it’s so rare for NYPD officers to face administrative trials for killing New Yorkers, and even rarer for CCRB to be the prosecuting party. No matter what, the NYPD Commissioner will have the final say after the trial on what discipline Thompson and Davis will face, so the least they can do is let the trial proceed with all of the substantiated charges. Mayor Adams should immediately correct this miscarriage of justice and order the NYPD to allow the illegal misconduct charge to be heard during the trial that starts on Monday.” Colon worked closely with the mothers of Eric Garner and Ramarley Graham to help navigate the NYPD’s opaque disciplinary process and lead the campaigns to fire the officers who killed their sons.
After hearing yesterday that the NYPD was planning to drop one of the charges, Kawaski Trawick’s mother released the following statement: “I’m disgusted and heartbroken that once again the NYPD has put up another roadblock to accountability for my son,” said Ellen Trawick, mother of Kawaski Trawick. “They act like this is a game, but I feel like they’re murdering Kawaski all over again. This doesn't even make any sense that they would toss charges that have been standing for two years, just days before the trial is supposed to begin. They're trying to say our eyes are lying but the video is clear – Kawaski was cooking in his home when Davis used his baton to break the chain holding Kawaski’s door to illegally enter, and then they murdered my son in 112 seconds. Maldonado, the NYPD and Mayor Adams should be ashamed and should correct this miscarriage of justice immediately. We won't stop fighting until Brendan Thompson & Herbert Davis are fired and they're no longer a threat to the city Kawaski loved."