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Kawaski Trawick’s family & electeds deliver letter to mayor and call for firing of officers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, May 15, 2023


Kristine Mikkelsen,

Eliel Cruz,

New York - Today, just days after the discipline trial of the officers who killed their son concluded, the family of Kawaski Trawick was joined by elected officials and groups at a press conference to discuss the trial and call on Mayor Eric Adams to ensure the officers who killed Mr. Trawick are fired swiftly. The outcome of the trial will determine whether Officers Brendan Thompson and Herbert Davis will face any discipline penalties, including employment termination, for killing Mr. Trawick in his own home on the night of April 14, 2019.

Following the press conference, the Trawicks entered City Hall and delivered a letter to Mayor Adams that urges him to, “act quickly and decisively to fire Thompson and Davis to make clear that the life of our Black, gay son mattered and to ensure the safety of New Yorkers”. They were escorted by Council Members Pierina Sanchez, Althea Steves, Alexa Aviles, and Tiffany Caban, the Trawick family's attorney, Royce Russell, Justice Committee Executive Director Loyda Colon and NYC Anti-Violence Project Executive Director, Beverly Tillery.

“Last week you mentioned your son when you spoke about Jordan Neely. Since you’ve been Mayor, we’ve never heard you say Kawaski’s name in public,” the letter states. “Kawaski was our son and he was loving and kind. He was just cooking in his apartment when Thompson and Davis used a baton to break the chain holding his door, tased him when he asked why they were in his home, then shot at him four times – all in 112 seconds. They didn’t check on him or try to save his life, they let him bleed out and die. Thompson and Davis created an unnecessary crisis and escalated it, disregarding NYPD training and procedures. Thompson and Davis are a danger to New Yorkers and should be fired.”.

Now that the trial has concluded, Deputy Commissioner of Trials Rosemarie Maldonado, the NYPD trial judge, will submit and report to NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell, who has the authority to choose whether to discipline the officers or not. There is no deadline for this decision.

The Trawick’s letter raises concerns about lies and inconsistencies in Officers Thompson and Davis’ stories, the NYPD’s faulty investigation into the case, and the series of NYPD delays and roadblocks the discipline process has faced.

“The trial made it even more clear that these officers should be fired but we don’t have faith in the NYPD to be fair,” the letter states. “We expect that they’ll want to continue their cover-up, and sweep this case under the rug…We’re asking for you to act in your capacity as Mayor to correct what has been wrong, end the cover-up and obstruction - and ensure that Thompson and Davis are fired within the coming weeks.”

The only fair outcome is for Thompson and Davis to be fired, without good guy letters and without the NYPD and administration covering for them,” the letter concludes.

The full letter to Mayor Eric Adams from Ellen and Rickie Trawick, parents of Kawaski Trawick, can be downloaded here.

Background: On April 14, 2019, Kawaski Trawick locked himself out of his apartment while he was cooking. The fire department let Mr. Trawick back into his apartment without incident. Mr. Trawick was cooking in his home after the situation had been resolved when NYPD Officers Thompson and Davis illegally entered Mr. Trawick’s apartment by using a baton to break the chain on his door, and killed him in 112 seconds.

After tasing and shooting Mr. Trawick, neither of the officers attempted to administer emergency medical aid. They closed the door to Kawaski’s apartment, then stood outside, leaving Mr. Trawick to bleed out on the floor.

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.

The family and advocates are demanding that Mayor Adams and NYPD Commissioner Sewell fire both Thompson and Davis as soon as possible, and not drag out the decision-making for months.

Mr. Trawick was a Black gay man, a son, and a brother pursuing his dreams as a dancer in New York City before that dream and his life was cut short at the hands of NYPD Officers Thompson and Davis.


About the Justice Committee:

Since the 1980s, the Justice Committee (JC) has been dedicated to building a movement against police violence and systemic racism in New York City. The heart of our work is organizing and uplifting the leadership of families who have lost loved ones to the police and survivors of police violence. We empower our community to deter police violence, hold law enforcement accountable, and build people-led community safety through grassroots organizing campaigns, community empowerment, political education, our CopWatch program, and by developing safety mechanisms and projects that decrease reliance on police. By building solidarity with other anti-racist, immigrant and people of color-led organizations, the Justice Committee seeks to contribute to a broad-based movement for racial, social, and economic justice. Justice Committee is a Communities United for Police Reform member organization.

About Communities United for Police Reform:

Communities United for Police Reform (CPR) is an unprecedented campaign to end discriminatory and abusive policing practices in New York, and to build a lasting movement that promotes public safety and reduces reliance on policing. CPR runs coalitions of over 200 local, statewide and national organizations, bringing together a movement of community members, lawyers, researchers and activists to work for change. The partners in this campaign come from all 5 boroughs, from all walks of life and represent many of those most unfairly targeted by the NYPD.


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