Trawick Family & Advocates Demand Bronx DA Release All Relevant Investigatory Files and Call on Mayor de Blasio & NYPD to Fire Officers Brendan Thompson and Herbert Davis
Bronx, NY – Today, Kawaski Trawick’s mother – joined by other family members, their attorney Royce Russell and advocates from Justice Committee and Communities United for Police Reform - met with the Bronx District Attorney’s office for a briefing on the DA’s report on their investigation into the April 14, 2019 NYPD killing of 32 year-old Kawaski Trawick. The report is expected to be released today by the Bronx DA. Bronx DA Darcel Clark announced in August 2020 that she would not seek to indict officers for the killing. In response to the meeting and report, Kawaski Trawick’s mother and supporters released the following:
“It's crystal clear from the video and the facts that NYPD Officers Brendan Thompson and Herbert Davis unnecessarily killed my son,” said Ellen Trawick, mother of Kawaski Trawick. “Kawaski was cooking in his own apartment, not a threat to anyone when Davis & Thompson entered his home without permission and immediately escalated the encounter resulting in Kawaski’s death. They refused to answer when my son repeatedly asked them why they were in his home. Thompson tased my son out of nowhere, even though Kawaski posed no threat -- and then he shot and killed my son. Neither officer gave any aid while my son lay dying on the floor. If Thompson and Davis had treated Kawaski like a human being, he would be alive today. Because of the failure of the Bronx DA to indict these officers, I’m focused today on fighting to make sure that Mayor de Blasio and the NYPD fire Thompson and Davis because the way they killed my son makes them a clear danger to New Yorkers.
Ellen Trawick went on to criticize the Bronx DA’s office’s biased summary of events: “The Bronx DA’s office dragged their feet on this investigation for a year and a half, mistreating my family and me along the way. It’s outrageous that they made us wait three more months after they publicly announced that they wouldn't indict, for a report that is written in a biased way that summarizes the incident by reiterating NYPD talking points instead of highlighting the multiple problems with the officers’ actions and failures, including killing my son within 2 minutes while they escalated the incident every step of the way. The DA’s delays make it even harder now for my family to fight to ensure these officers are fired,” said Ellen Trawick, mother of Kawaski Trawick.
“After more than a year and a half, the DA’s office chose not to indict in this case and has release a biased report that has a slant by way of omissions
which clouds the air of transparency. We need the meida and public to be critical readers and thinkers when reviewing this report, and watch the video in totality,” said Royce Russell, attorney for Kawaski Trawick’s family. “Since the DA is not pursuing this case further, I fully expect the District Attorney’s office to act in good faith with humanity being at the forefront of their intentions – and the best way to do that at this stage is full transparency and release of all relevant documents and reports to the family of Kawaski Trawick so that this family has the tools to seek accountability and justice for the killing of Kawaski.”
“We are outraged at the extent to which this report shows bias to protect Officers Brendan Thompson, Herbert Davis and the NYPD, in an attempt to excuse them from accountability and cover for the fact that the Bronx DA’s office failed the Trawick family and Bronx residents,” said Loyda Colon, Justice Committee Co-Director. “These are further injustices done to Kawaski Trawick's family, on top of the NYPD's unnecessary murder of their son. To add insult to injury, this report and decision comes after the DA's Office spent more than a year and a half dragging their feet on their investigation and mistreating the Trawick family. In this whole time, Officers Thompson and Davis - who chose to escalate their encounter with Mr. Trawick despite there being no need - have continued to collect City paychecks and pose a threat to New Yorkers. We stand with the Trawick family in their demand that Mayor de Blasio and Police Commissioner Shea not replicate the failure of the Bronx DA and instead immediately fire the officers who killed Kawaski Trawick.
“Kawaski Trawick was a Black queer man who was gunned down by police in his home, where he should have been safe,” said Ileana Méndez-Peñate, spokesperson for Communities United for Police Reform. “What’s clear from the video and facts of this case is that the NYPD unnecessarily interacted with and escalated their interaction with Kawaski, taking just seconds to tase and kill him in his own home. Mayor de Blasio likes to claim that his NYPD has been reformed, but what’s clear is that more than a year and a half later there has been zero accountability for the reckless killing of Kawaski Trawick. de Blasio & NYPD Commissioner Shea should take this moment to prove that they will hold officers accountable by immediately moving to fire Officers Brendan Thompson and Herbert Davis – and removing police from all mental health response in NYC.”
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 just cooking”. The officers repeatedly escalated the incident by refusing to answer Kawaski’s questions, yelled orders at him, and then tased and killed Kawaski within minutes of their arrival.
The NYPD sensationalized the fact that Kawaski was holding a knife to justify shooting him, but he was holding a knife because he was cooking. Only one officer had his body worn-camera.
The Bronx District Attorney’s office announced in August 2020 that they would not seek an indictment. To the family’s knowledge, there has been no discipline of the officers by the NYPD.
Kawaski was a Black queer man and reportedly a beloved member of NYC’s ballroom community.