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Letter––Families of Loved Ones Killed by NYPD Denounce Delays That Help Cops Evade Discipline

October 12, 2023


Mayor Eric Adams

City Hall

New York, NY 10007


NYPD Commissioner Edward Caban

1 Police Plaza

New York, NY 10038



Re: Discipline of officers who killed Kawaski Trawick


Dear Mayor Adams and Commissioner Caban,


As family members of New Yorkers killed by the NYPD and local and national organizations who work for the safety and well-being of diverse communities, we’re concerned by recent news that an NYPD deputy commissioner drafted a recommendation for Commissioner Caban to dismiss discipline charges against both Officers Brendan Thompson and Herbert Davis for their killing of Kawaski Trawick, a Black gay man who was cooking at home when he was killed. We’re concerned that this may reflect what seems to be an ongoing pattern under the current administration to downgrade discipline for serious police misconduct and weaken the NYPD disciplinary process.


It's been over four years since Officers Thompson and Davis broke the chain on Kawaski Trawick’s door, refused to answer why they were in his home, tased, shot and killed him – in a matter of 112 seconds. Neither officer attempted to provide aid. In fact, at one point, Davis held the door shut while Mr. Trawick bled out on the other side.


The 17 families of New Yorkers killed by police and 53 organizations sending this letter stand with the Trawick family to call on you to fire both Officers Thompson and Davis. Thompson & Davis’ misconduct created a crisis where there was none. Their unnecessary escalation of that crisis and violation of their training and Patrol Guide procedures resulted in the unwarranted death of Mr. Trawick.


We also support Mrs. & Mr. Trawick’s request to meet with Mayor Adams before a final disciplinary decision is made. The Trawicks have repeatedly shared their dismay that the Mayor has never said their son’s name in public – in spite of the Thompson/Davis discipline proceeding being the highest profile administrative trial during the current administration. We’re concerned that the Trawicks have never heard from the Mayor or received acknowledgment from the administration of a letter they hand-delivered with elected officials for the Mayor at the conclusion of the discipline trial in May (enclosed with this letter). In light of Mayor Adams’ statement last week that “This is the first time that I'm learning that there was a delay in turning over video,” we believe the Trawicks and their team should have the opportunity to fully brief the Mayor on the four years of NYPD obstruction and delays the Trawicks and New Yorkers have had to endure – before Commissioner Caban makes a final discipline decision. As James Blake, wrote in the Daily News, “That doesn’t seem like too much to ask”.


The possibility that Officers Thompson & Davis may face zero disciplinary consequences for their killing of Kawaski Trawick is wrong and sends the message that when NYPD officers kill New Yorkers and when the NYPD delays and obstructs investigations, the NYPD and officers who engage in misconduct will be shielded from consequences for wrongdoing. This is not only bad policy – it promotes the dangerous and anti-democratic idea that the NYPD should be allowed to operate with impunity and will not be held accountable.


The list of delays and obstruction by the NYPD since 2019 related to Kawaski Trawick is too long to list here, but includes:


The latest move to try to cancel any discipline for Officers Thompson and Davis is wrong. We urge you to reject any such recommendation and move to fire Thompson and Davis swiftly, without “good guy letters”.


Given the significant misconduct by Thompson, Davis and the NYPD related to this case, we urge Mayor Adams to meet with the Trawicks and their team as requested – before a final discipline decision is made.


We would appreciate acknowledgment of this letter. Arrangements for the Mayor to meet with the Trawicks and their team should be made through the Justice Committee.


Sincerely,


Darlene Armstead, sister of Clifford Glover (killed by NYPD in 1978)

Hawa Bah, mother of Mohamed Bah (killed by NYPD in 2012) Iris & Mercy Baez, mother and cousin of Anthony Baez (killed by NYPD in 1994)

Valerie Bell, mother of Sean Bell (killed by NYPD in 2006) Victor Dempsey, brother of Delrawn Small (killed by NYPD in 2016)

Natasha Duncan & Angie Hicks, sister and aunt of Shantel Davis (killed by NYPD in 2012)

Samy Feliz, brother of Allan Feliz killed by NYPD in 2019 Gwen Carr & Ellisha Garner, mother & sister of Eric Garner (killed by NYPD in 2014)

Carol Gray, mother of Kimani Gray (killed by NYPD in 2013)

Joyce Huang, sister of Yong Xin Huang (killed by NYPD in 1995)

Constance Malcolm, mother of Ramarley Graham (killed by NYPD in 2012) Nancy Pacheco, sister-in-law of Jayson Tirado (killed by NYPD in 2007)

Hertencia Petersen, aunt of Akai Gurley (killed by NYPD in 2014) Margarita Rosario, mother of Anthony Rosario & aunt of Hilton Vega (killed by NYPD in 1995)

Eric Vassell, father of Saheed Vassell (killed by NYPD in 2018) Shawn & Gladys Williams, father & stepmother of Antonio Williams (killed by NYPD in 2019)



Justice Committee

Communities United for Police Reform

Housing Works

VOCAL-NY

Make the Road NY

New York City Anti-Violence Project

El Puente

Audre Lorde Project

Showing Up for Racial Justice NYC

5 Borough Defenders

Alliance for Quality Education

Arab American Association of New York

Black Jewish Liberation Collective (BJLC)

Brooklyn Anti-Gentrification Network

CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities

Caribbean Equality Project

Center for Anti-Violence Education

Center for Constitutional Rights

Center for Popular Democracy

Citizen Action of New York

Color Of Change

Community Access

Community for a Cause

Community Voices Heard

Defending Rights & Dissent

Drug Policy Alliance

DRUM - Desis Rising Up & Moving

EngageWell IPA

Equality for Flatbush

Freedom Agenda

Future of Tomorrow

Gathering for Justice/Justice League NYC

The Human Rights Campaign

Jews for Racial and Economic Justice

Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club

Katal Center for Health, Equity, and Justice

Lambda Independent Democrats of Brooklyn

Legal Action Center

Legal Aid Society

Malcolm X Grassroots Movement

Mekong NYC

Middle Church

Mothers on the Move

National Alliance on Mental Illness of New York City

New Kings Democrats

New Pride Agenda

Nodutdol

Northwest Bronx Community & Clergy Coalition

Public Science Project

Surveillance Resistance Lab

Transgender Law Center

Urban Youth Collaborative

Youth Represent



cc: NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams

NYC Council Speaker Adrienne Adams

CCRB Chair Arva Rice; CCRB ED Jonathan Darche

Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Phil Banks


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