The NYPD is above the law when they kill New Yorkers, and no case better illustrates this heartbreaking and enraging fact than the case of Kawaski Trawick.
Trawick, a 32-year-old personal trainer who lived with mental health issues, found himself locked out of his Bronx apartment one night in the spring of 2019. Trawick called 911, pretended the building was on fire, and the FDNY came, unlocking his door and letting him back in.
That could have been the end of it, but then two NYPD officers, Herbert Davis and Brendan Thompson, also showed up. A building super told the cops that Trawick may have been on drugs, so the officers went up to Trawick's apartment and knocked on his door. When they didn't get an immediate answer, they forced their way in, with Thompson pointing his Taser into the apartment. "We ain't gonna tase him," Davis told his much younger partner.
"Why did you just kick in my door?" a shirtless and bewildered Trawick asked the cops. He was shirtless and holding a knife, because, as he told the two cops, he was at home and cooking a meal.
Seconds later, despite Davis's warnings to not use the Taser, Thompson shot Trawick with it. Then Thompson pulled his firearm.
"No, no, don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t," Davis told his partner, who again, didn't listen. Thompson then proceeded to shoot Trawick four times, killing him.
Less than two minutes had elapsed, and Trawick was dead.
All of the above information came out after the NYPD's internal investigation cleared the officers of wrongdoing, and after the Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark determined that the NYPD officers did not do anything to merit charges.
ProPublica obtained the documents and the body camera footage the NYPD used to come to their determination, and found that the investigation into Trawick's death was a farce. Police investigators never even asked the officers about the body camera footage, and allowed them to make false or misleading statements. This internal inquiry was led by the NYPD's Force Investigation Division, which was created after the death of Eric Garner as a measure to supposedly increase police accountability. Both officers had received training in how to respond to calls of someone in crisis.
The Civilian Complaint Review Board also brought departmental charges against Thompson and Davis, but the NYPD withheld the body camera footage for a year and a half—a shockingly common way the NYPD shows its contempt toward its civilian oversight body. The case finally did make it to "trial" (not a public trial, but an NYPD-run departmental trial, with an NYPD judge), but earlier this month, the judge stated in a draft decision that the officers did not deserve any discipline, because the CCRB missed a deadline.