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DAY 2: #FireThompsonAndDavis for Kawaski Trawick Trial

Trial Summary: Tuesday April 25, 2023

1 Police Plaza, New York


CCRB disciplinary prosecution of Officers Brendan Thompson and Herbert Davis for their killing of Kawaski Trawick[1]


Tuesday April 25 was the second day of the NYPD disciplinary trial of Officers Brendan Thompson and Herbert Davis, related to charges substantiated by the Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) for their killing of Kawaski Trawick on April 14, 2019. The NYPD refused to substantiate misconduct and hid the full video from the public until 20 months after the killing. CCRB substantiated multiple charges against the officers in 2021; NYPD delayed formal “serving” of those charges until late 2021. In spite of four years of cover-ups, obstruction and delays[2], the discipline trial began on Monday April 24, 2023 – more than 4 years after Kawaski was killed.


Day 2 of the trial included 1 witness, called by CCRB:

  • Dr. Terra A. Cederroth, Deputy Chief Medical Examiner, who oversees Manhattan and parts of the Bronx for the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner and performed the autopsy of Kawaski Trawick.


Highlights from witness testimony and cross examination


Brian Arthur (CCRB prosecutor) took testimony from Dr. Cederroth, including:

  • Dr. Cederroth reported Trawick’s cause of death as gunshot wounds to the torso. One bullet entered from Kawaski’s upper left back, fracturing ribs, lunch ang heart. A second bullet entered from the right side of Kawaski’s chest, fracturing ribs and grazing the right lung and diaphragm, going through the liver and lodged in the back. The wound in his upper left back was more significant because the bullet hit both the heart and the lung.

  • There were scrapes on the inside of the upper right arm, aligned with scrapes on the right torso at the same level of the chest entrance wound, indicating that Trawick’s right arm was held close to his body when he was shot. (This also indicates that he was not a threat to officers when shot.)

  • When asked, Dr. Cederroth stated that Trawick’s chance of survival could have been increased if chest compressions or other medical assistance had been performed.

  • Dr. Cederroth also described the impact of a taser on the human body: it delivers 50,000 volts of electricity to the body and causes uncontrollable muscle contractions, causing a person to fall.

  • There was a small amount of methamphetamine in Trawick’s body when he died.


Richard Murray, attorney for Officer Herbert Davis cross-examined Dr. Cederroth.

  • Mr. Murray asked Dr. Cederroth about the severity of the gunshot wounds, their ability to cause death and at what rate, and Trawick’s chances of survival without surgical intervention.

  • Dr. Cederroth stated her opinion that Trawick could have died within minutes even with surgical intervention.

Following questioning of the medical examiner, court was adjourned until Thursday May 11th.[3]


In attendance, Day 2

Kawaski Trawick’s parents, Ellen and Rickie Trawick, were joined by supporters inside the trial room - including Iris Baez, the mother of Anthony Baez, who was killed by NYPD Officer Francis Livoti’s chokehold in 1994. Livoti was fired by the NYPD and prosecuted by the federal Department of Justice for violating Anthony’s civil rights. Livoti was convicted and sentenced on federal charges for the killing of Anthony Baez – and is the only NYPD officer in the past several decades who was prosecuted or convicted by DOJ. Organizations that came out to support included: Justice Committee, Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) and others.


Press availability

The Trawicks are holding daily mid-day availabilities with the press for the duration of the trial. Today’s availability was MCd by Justice Committee’s executive director, Loyda Colon. In addition to the Trawicks, other speakers included: Royce Russell, the Trawick family’s attorney; Iris Baez, mother of Anthony Baez; and Council Member Tiffany Caban.


 

[1] 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.

[2] Over the past four years, through two mayoral administrations and three police commissioners, there’s been a series of cover-ups, delays and obstruction, preventing the public from knowing about Kawaski Trawick and to shield the officers from being fired. This includes: when Kawaski was first killed, the de Blasio administration refused to immediately release the names of officers; Kawaski Trawick was killed before COVID but the NYPD didn’t release footage for 20 months only after being forced to by a lawsuit – this was well into the second year of the pandemic and after national protests for the killing of George Floyd.

[3] The Adams administration has continued with de Blasio-era delays and obstruction. At a pre-trial conference this month, the NYPD changed the dates of the trial because an NYPD official who wasn’t a witness to the killing, but will testify on the officer’s behalf, will be on vacation during the original trial dates -- in spite of the dates being confirmed since last year. As a result, the trial will be interrupted by a two-week adjournment after the majority of the prosecution’s case - giving the defense more time to prepare and disadvantaging the CCRB’s prosecution.



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