Updated: Apr 14
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, April 12, 2023
Family of Black Gay Man Killed by NYPD Rally with Elected Officials
& Groups to Fire Cops
Kawaski Trawick’s Family Travels From Georgia to Mark Four-Year Anniversary of Killing and Meet With Civilian Complaint Review Board Before April 24th Discipline Trial
New York, NY – Today, nearly four years to the day that Kawaski Trawick, a Black gay New Yorker, was killed by police in his own home, family members, elected officials and community organizations across New York City joined together following a pre-trial meeting that the Trawicks, the Justice Committee and the Trawick attorney had with the Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB). The CCRB is prosecuting the officers in the discipline trial that will start on April 24th.
On April 14, 2019, Mr. Trawick was cooking in his Bronx apartment when NYPD Officers Brendan Thompson and Herbert Davis broke the chain on his apartment door, tased him, and killed him – within less than 112 seconds. After years of cover-ups and delay, a discipline trial of the two officers will finally begin on Monday, April 24.
From the steps of One Police Plaza, Kawasaki’s family members were joined by the mother of Anthony Baez, whose son was killed by NYPD Officer Francis Livoti in 1994. Livoti, who was fired in 1997, is the only NYPD officer in the past decades who was prosecuted and convicted by the Department of Justice for killing a New Yorker. Ellen and Rickie Trawick were also joined by elected officials, including Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, Council Member Pierina Sanchez, State Senator Julia Salazar and Council Member Lincoln Restler - and groups including Justice Committee, Anti-Violence Project, VOCAL-NY, Make the Road NY, Housing Works, Audre Lorde Project, Showing Up for Racial Justice, Communities United for Police Reform and others.
“It’s almost exactly four years to the day since Kawaski was murdered in his own home by Officers Thompson and Davis, and it’s shameful that our family still has to fight for the most basic accountability,” said Ellen and Rickie Trawick, parents of Kawaski Trawick. “These officers should have already been fired for murdering our son, but at every turn the NYPD, the city and the PBA have attempted to block their firing with cover-ups, delays and games. Today, we come together to remember Kawaski, to mourn him, and to demand that Thompson & Davis be fired on his behalf. We’re not going to say their firing would be justice - justice would have meant that Kawaski was still alive. With the disciplinary trial starting on April 24th, these officers must be fired without any more delays so that there can be some accountability.”
Basic accountability for the killing of Mr. Trawick has dragged on across two mayors and three police commissioners because of years of cover-ups, delays and obstruction by the NYPD, police union, former Mayor Bill de Blasio, and now the Adams administration. The Civilian Complaint Review Board will be prosecuting the officers in the NYPD discipline trial. The trial dates were scheduled in the fall of 2022, but earlier this month, an NYPD judge granted the officers’ latest last-minute request to interrupt and prolong the conclusion of the trial because an NYPD official who will testify for the officers will be on vacation. As a result, while the trial will begin on April 24th, it will adjourn for two weeks after most of the prosecution’s presentation - and resume on Thursday, May 11 to accommodate the vacation schedule of the NYPD official testifying on behalf of the officers.
Of the NYPD’s delay tactics, Loyda Colon, Executive Director of the Justice Committee and member of Communities United for Police Reform said, “The constant obstruction and delay tactics, after the initial years of cover-up are outrageous and inhumane. It should not take four years to fire city employees that don’t follow their own training and protocols, break the law, and take the life of a New Yorker that was just cooking in his home alone. The continued perverted shielding of NYPD officers like Brendan Thompson and Herbert Davis is criminal. It is a threat to public safety and a drain on NYC resources. The CCRB must aggressively prosecute, Deputy Chief Maldonado must recommend termination, and Mayor Adams and Commissioner Sewell must terminate officers Thompson and Davis for the murder of Kawaski Trawick.”
In 2019, Kawaski Trawick locked himself out of his apartment while he was cooking. The super at the supportive housing facility where Mr. Trawick lived, refused to let him back in. The fire department arrived and let Mr. Trawick back into his apartment. Trawick was cooking in his home after the situation had been resolved and NYPD officers Thompson and Davis illegally entered Trawick’s apartment and escalated the encounter at every step - refusing to answer Trawick when he repeatedly asked why they were in his home, then tasing and shooting him in 112 seconds. After shooting Trawick, 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.
After Kawaski Trawick was killed, the NYPD illegally withheld the full, unedited body camera footage for 20 months while misinforming the public about the killing. When the NYPD refused to bring disciplinary charges against the officers, the Civilian Complaint Review Board substantiated fire-able misconduct charges against Thompson and Davis in 2021.
"The fight for accountability in the death of Kawaski Trawick has now spanned more than four years and now two administrations,” said Public Advocate Jumaane Williams. “Justice has already been too long delayed, but it cannot now be denied, and the officers who contributed to this tragedy must be accountable. As we continue work toward protecting and producing public safety, it is impossible to make progress without accountability for past injustices. I hope that the coming trial yields consequences, and some semblance of accountability for the family of Kawaski Trawick who faces their loss today and every day for over four years."
"This week marks the four-year anniversary of the tragic and unjust killing of Kawaski Trawick in his own home at the hands of two NYPD officers,” said Council Member Pierina Sanchez, who represents the Bronx district where Trawick was killed. “My heart goes out to his loved ones, who continue to grieve and seek justice for his death. It is deeply troubling that in the years since Kawaski's killing, the officers responsible have not been held accountable for their actions. As we remember Kawaski today, we must demand that the NYPD take swift action to fire these officers and continue the fight to ensure that such a tragedy never happens again."
Trawick family attorney, Royce Russell said: “The Mayor and Commissioner should not allow the delay of justice for the Trawick family to block the warranted termination of Officers Davis and Thompson, as a life was lost by their intentional misconduct.”