Updated: Apr 28
Trial Summary 04/24/23
Discipline trial of NYPD Officers Brendan Thompson and Herbert Davis for their 2019 killing of Kawaski Trawick
1 Police Plaza, New York
Monday April 24th 2023 was the first day of the discipline trial for Offers Brendan Thompson (Case #23558) and Herbert Davis (Case #23559). Thompson and Davis are being prosecuted by the Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) for multiple charges of misconduct in their killing of Kawaski Trawick on April 14, 2019.
The judge for the case is NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Trials Rosemarie Maldonado. CCRB attorneys were: Andre Applewhite and Brian Arthur. Officer Thompson is represented by police union attorney Michael Martinez and Officer Davis is represented by Richard Murray.
Day 1 of the trial included a procedural matter, opening statements and submission of exhibits into evidence.
In attendance: Kawaski Trawick’s parents, Ellen and Rickie Trawick, were joined by supporters inside the trial room - including Gwen Carr, the mother of Eric Garner who was killed by NYPD in 2014; Iris Baez, the mother of Anthony Baez, who was killed by NYPD Officer Francis Livoti’s chokehold in 1994; Trawick family attorney Royce Russell and organizations that helped to pack the court included: Justice Committee, VOCAL-NY, Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) and others.
Procedural matter: The CCRB attorneys raised and objected to Judge Maldonado’s unilateral and improper decision last week to try to dismiss the illegal entry charge from the case. Despite a heated exchange in the first half-hour of the trial between Deputy Commissioner of Trials Rosemarie Maldonado and the CCRB regarding Maldonado’s last-minute attempt at a pre-trial dismissal of one of multiple misconduct charges, all charges against the officers will be heard.
Judge Maldonado initiated an exchange related to the statute of limitations for most formal disciplinary charges, stating that they had expired on 10/14/20, the extended statute of limitations (due to COVID-19) expired on 5/31/21, and that the CCRB voted on whether to file charges on 6/9/21. Thompson and Davis were served on 10/20/21 by the NYPD. Judge Maldonado stated that “The statute of limitations had already expired before the CCRB decided to file charges in this case” and that a “crime exception” is needed because the statute of limitations ran out. Judge Maldonado and the CCRB lawyer went back-and-forth on this topic, and the judge called a break.
Following a prolonged recess after the courtroom tensions, the Deputy Commissioner made clear that she intends to recommend dismissal of an illegal entry charge over the CCRB’s objections, in spite of the fact that no evidence had yet been entered into the record. Maldonado stated she would no longer be reading her motion to dismiss into the record as she had planned to do before the recess, and based on CCRB’s request stated on the record that CCRB had requested body camera footage in June 2019 but the NYPD did not turn video over to CCRB until January 2021. Following this, the CCRB and the lawyers for Thompson and Davis presented oral arguments.
Opening Statements: CCRB argued that Thompson and Davis ignored their training in de-escalation, provoked Mr. Trawick by trespassing and assaulting him, and then neglected to provide medical aid. The CCRB lawyers told the story of what happened that day in April 2019, and said that the crimes included unlawful entry, assault with gun and taser (none of which can be called self-defense), reckless endangerment in not providing Kawaski Trawick with any aid, and violating the patrol guide.
The PBA lawyer for Thompson argued that Thompson has already been exonerated, after fully being investigated by the Bronx DA who is the ruling authority on the criminal aspect. “If he weren’t here, he’d be on trial - excuse me - he’d be on patrol.” The lawyer stated that this is a “political prosecution” and that Kawaski was “cunning” in calling 911 to gain entry to his apartment. The lawyer for Thompson also falsely claimed that Thompson was in fear for his life and that Kawaski threatened to kill him, and that it was an “unfortunate experience” that doesn’t rise to the level of administrative or criminal misconduct.
Murray, the lawyer for Davis argued that Davis lives in the Bronx, and that no aid could be provided because a fatal shot was fired. He also argued that EMS was in the building (stating first that they came within two minutes, then within “roughly four”). He also argued that this was “only a police patrol guide violation” and the criminal exception for the statute of limitations has to be based on the underlying misconduct.
CCRB Case: The CCRB then began its case by submitting exhibits 1-18: body-worn camera footage, surveillance camera footage, a video created by Bronx DA, OME autopsy report, photos of bullet wounds and taser prong, NYPD force investigation report, audio of radio transmission on 4/14/19, transcript of audio, Thompson and Davis’ training transcripts, modules, and certification records. They also played the video made by the Bronx DA in its entirety, the body-worn camera footage of Thompson, and the audio.
The trial was adjourned to tomorrow (Tuesday April 25th), when the medical examiner is expected to testify.
The Trawicks are holding daily mid-day availabilities with the press for the duration of the trial. Today’s availability was MCed by Justice Committee’s executive director, Loyda Colon. In addition to the Trawicks, other speakers included: Gwen Carr, the mother of Eric Garner; Council Member Pierina Sanchez; Royce Russell, the Trawick family’s attorney. Others in attendance included: Iris Baez, mother of Anthony Baez; Joshua Lopez, nephew of John Collado; Council Member Tiffany Caban; Housing Works; VOCAL-NY; Equality for Flatbush; Anti-Violence Project; and SURJ.
 Although NYPD had the authority to charge and prosecute Thompson and Davis (as they do with all officers), they did not. This trial of Thompson and Davis would not be happening if CCRB had not substantiated misconduct charges and if community groups and the Trawicks hadn’t kept organizing for the firing of these officers. NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell’s decision regarding what Thompson and Davis’ discipline will be (if any discipline) will happen after the disciplinary trial – and could take days to months. Sewell’s decision could be to implement what Deputy Commissioner of Trials Rosemarie Maldonado recommends, or she can make the penalty less or more than recommended.
 NYPD regularly delays serving formal misconduct charges on officers whose charges are substantiated by the NYPD, as was the case here.  There is no way officers would have known that the shots were fatal. Thompson and Davis made no attempt to provide any aid after shooting Kawaski Trawick.