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Family of Kawaski Trawick Responds to CCRB Decision to Substantiate Charges Against NYPD Officers

For Immediate Release: June 10, 2021

Contact: Hilary Lyons, hlyons@changethenypd.org, 646-653-2871

Family of Kawaski Trawick Responds to CCRB Decision to Substantiate Charges Against NYPD Officers Brendan Thompson and Herbert Davis


New York, NY – Yesterday, the Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) voted to substantiate misconduct charges against NYPD Officers Brendan Thompson and Herbert Davis, who killed Kawaski Trawick on April 14, 2019. The charges pertain to Officer Thompson’s and Davis’ abuse of authority, use of force, and other misconduct in their killing of Kawaski Trawick. NYPD officers Brendan Thompson and Herbert Davis killed Kawaski Trawick in just 112 seconds after arriving at his apartment. Kawaski was alone in his home when officers broke the chain off his door, tased him, and shot him multiple times, killing him. Last month, it was made public that the NYPD’s internal investigation found no wrongdoing and had imposed no discipline on officers Thompson and Davis.


Kawaski Trawick’s parents, Ellen and Ricky; Loyda Colon, Executive Director of the Justice Committee; Ileana Mendez-Peñate, Communities United for Police Reform spokesperson; and Royce Russell, the Trawick Family’s attorney responded to the CCRB’s vote to substantiate charges against Officers Brendan Thompson and Herbert Davis in the following statements:


"We're glad the CCRB was able to see there was wrongdoing on the part of NYPD officers Brendan Thompson and Herbert Davis for murdering our son, Kawaski Trawick, but we're shocked that these officers are still on the force," said Ellen Trawick (she/her) and Ricky Trawick (he/him), parents of Kawaski Trawick. "We've watched the video of Kawaski's killing over and over again and it's clear that Thompson and Davis created a crisis that didn't exist, escalated at every step and then killed our son in cold-blood - and they did this in 112 seconds. After shooting Kawaski, Thompson and Davis made no attempt to save his life - they left him behind a closed door while they worried about themselves. Kawaski was killed while he was cooking in his own apartment - where he would have been safe if it weren't for Officers Thompson and Davis. Our son should be alive and Brendan Thompson and Herbert Davis must be fired. We're demanding that the CCRB move swiftly to file the formal charges with the NYPD and that Mayor de Blasio and the NYPD waste no time serving the charges on Thompson and Davis so the discipline trial can move forward."

"NYPD officers Brendan Thompson and Herbert Davis murdered Kawaski Trawick while he was cooking in his own home and, unlike the NYPD, the CCRB was able to see the officers' wrongdoing and substantiate several charges against them," said Loyda Colon (they/them), Executive Director of the Justice Committee. "We must ensure the CCRB quickly files charges with the NYPD and that they serve charges on Thomspon and Davis immediately so that a trial can be scheduled by CCRB and they can be fired. Kawaski's family has waited more than two years for answers and accountability. Thompson and Davis are a danger to other New Yorkers and must be removed from patrolling our streets."

“The NYPD and Mayor de Blasio have been refusing to fire officers Brendan Thompson and Herbert Davis for the two years since Kawaski was killed,” said Ileana Mendez-Peñate (she/her), spokesperson for Communities United for Police Reform. “Given the NYPD’s consistent refusal to hold officers accountable for brutality, we commend the CCRB vote to substantiate charges against both officers. Mayor de Blasio and the NYPD have consistently delayed accountability and protected these officers who busted the chain off Kawaski’s door, forcefully entering his home while he was cooking, and killed him. These substantiated charges make clear that officers Thompson and Davis should have never even entered his home in the first place. We are calling for a swift administrative trial for the officers and for Mayor de Blasio and the NYPD to fire Officers Brendan Thompson and Herbert Davis.”

“I am glad that the CCRB independent investigation has resulted in substantiated charges against both officers Thompson and Davis,” said Royce Russell (he/him), the Trawick family’s attorney. “This independent finding by the CCRB’s diverse board highlights the NYPD’s extreme bias in protecting their own, given the NYPD previously found no wrongdoing concerning the actions of officers Thompson and Davis.”



More Information on Kawaski Trawick:

On April 14, 2019, 32-year-old Kawaski Trawick was locked out of his apartment at Hill House in the Bronx. The fire department let him into his apartment. By the time NYPD officers Brendan Thompson and Herbert Davis arrived, Kawaski was already back in his apartment cooking. Kawaski asked the officers multiple times “Why are you in my home?” and explained, “I’m cooking.” The officers repeatedly escalated the incident including Davis using his baton to break the chain on Kawaski's door to enter the apartment, both Davis and Thompson refusing to answer Kawaski when he repeatedly asked “Why are you in my home?”. Both officers shouted orders at Kawaski, refused to answer his questions, and Thompson tased him without cause, and then shot and killed Kawaski within 112 seconds of their arrival. The NYPD sensationalized the fact that Kawaski was holding a bread knife to justify shooting him, but he was holding a knife because he was cooking. Only one officer, Brendan Thompson, had his body-worn camera.


The NYPD refused to release full, unedited footage of the incident for almost two years – only releasing unedited footage to a legal organization, following a FOIL request. In December 2020, the NYPD-released a selectively-edited and incomplete video of some of the body camera footage. In footage that the NYPD later released to the legal organization, officers on the scene immediately after Kawaski’s killing can be heard saying, “Nobody, just a perp” in response to an officer asking if anyone was injured. It is also clear that Thompson and Davis did not immediately provide care to Kawaski after he was shot.


In April 2021, it was made public through a ProPublica report that the NYPD found “no wrongdoing” on the part of Thompson and Davis. Kawaski’s family found out about the NYPD’s refusal to discipline Thompson and Davis through the news media. Now that the CCRB has voted to substantiate charges against Thompson and Davis, the family is calling on the CCRB to swiftly file the charges with the NYPD, and the NYPD to immediately serve the charges on the officers and schedule the administrative trial.


The charges substantiated against officer Brendan Thompson include abuse of authority for entering Kawaski’s home and failing to obtain medical treatment, and for his use of force against Kawaski, and pointing and firing his gun at Kawaski. The charges substantiated against Herbert Davis include abuse of authority for unwarrantedly entering Kawaski’s home and failing to obtain medical treatment.


Kawaski was a Black queer man, a son, a brother and reportedly a beloved member of the ballroom community.



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