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Mother of Kawaski Trawick, Community Groups & Electes Demand Firing of Officers Who Killed Her Son




MEDIA CONTACT: Kristine Mikkelsen, kmikkelsen@spitfirestrategies.com

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE for October 10, 2023

Mother of Kawaski Trawick, Community Groups and Elected Officials Demand Firing of Officers Who Killed Her Son

New York, New York - Today, Ellen Trawick, mother of Kawaski Trawick, was joined by elected officials, community groups, and advocates from across the city to demand that Mayor Adams and Commissioner Caban take immediate action to ensure Officers Brendan Thompson and Herbert Davis are fired. Kawaski Trawick, a 32-year-old Black gay man, was cooking in his own Bronx apartment when officers Thompson and Davis broke the chain on his door, illegally entered his apartment, and then tased and shot him within 112 seconds in 2019.

On September 20th, over four years after the killing of Kawaski, the NYPD deputy commissioner who oversaw the disciplinary trial drafted a recommendation that the charges against the two officers be dismissed, on a technicality originally caused by NYPD delays. The Trawick family has demanded a meeting with the mayor prior to a decision being made and has not received a response.

At the rally, Ellen Trawick, elected officials, and racial justice groups called on Mayor Adams and Commissioner Caban to take immediate action to reject the draft recommendation and fire the officers who killed Kawaski Trawick.

“It’s been over four years since Thompson and Davis murdered my son while he was cooking at home. The mayor and the commissioner should be embarrassed that these two men are still being paid as NYPD officers -- and New Yorkers should be afraid about what this means when police abuse their power and kill,” said Ellen Trawick, mother of Kawaski Trawick. “Anyone who has seen the video, anyone who sat in the discipline trial, anyone who’s fair or who cares about safety knows Brendan Thompson and Herbert Davis should be fired. Mayor Adams has never even said my son’s name. His new commissioner could make a decision on whether or not to fire the officers as early as this week. My husband and I are calling on the mayor to meet with us and our team before a decision is made and to do right by firing Thompson and Davis."

In a statement read on his behalf, Kawaski Trawick’s father, Rickie Trawick echoed the demand to meet with the mayor: “Mayor Adams should meet with us because he needs to understand that if Thompson and Davis aren’t fired, then these cops – his cops – are literally getting away with murder. If he didn’t even know til last week that his NYPD had blocked the CCRB from getting video for almost 2 years, then there’s a lot more that I want to tell him and make sure he knows about how the NYPD has been rigging this to protect Thompson and Davis even though they did wrong.”

Kawaski Trawick’s family, advocates and community members have been demanding that Thompson and Davis be fired for years. The NYPD has obstructed and delayed the process at every turn. For almost two years, the NYPD did not release any video and when it did, it was incomplete. The department did not let anyone see the full video until a judge ordered its release. After Kawaski was killed, the NYPD did not turn over body camera footage to the CCRB for 21 months, deliberately blocking the CCRB from doing a timely investigation. Internal investigation reports show that the NYPD investigation was a sham, and investigators did not spend more than 30 minutes interviewing either Thompson or Davis. Not a single question was asked about what the video footage showed or when Thompson or Davis contradicted the footage or each other.

"The NYPD could have brought discipline charges themselves but instead they took 20 months to run a sham investigation where Thompson & Davis were questioned for less than 30 minutes each," said Loyda Colon, Executive Director of the Justice Committee and member of Communities United for Police Reform (CPR). "The NYPD delayed & obstructed CCRB from running an investigation for almost two years – and now this NYPD deputy commissioner is trying to blame CCRB when CCRB substantiated misconduct in just 5 months after getting the blocked BWC footage from NYPD. If Mayor Adams & Commissioner Caban don’t reject this backwards recommendation and fire Thompson & Davis, they’ll be sending a clear message to all cops who kill that no matter the facts, they’ll be shielded by NYPD from any discipline -- because NYPD will cover-up, delay, obstruct, and refuse to substantiate misconduct -- and then blame CCRB for the NYPD’s delays – a dangerous precedent impacting all cases where police kill New Yorkers."

Elected officials joining Ellen Trawick included NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, State Senator Julia Salazar, State Senator Jessica Ramos, and City Councilmember Pierina Sanchez. Groups joining included Justice Committee, Housing Works, VOCAL-NY, Make the Road NY, El Puente, Communities United for Police Reform, Jews for Racial & Economic Justice, Showing Up for Racial Justice, Equality for Flatbush and others.


Additional quotes

“Mayor Adams and the Police Commissioner must fire Officers Thompson and Davis. These two police officers must be held accountable for their actions. Dismissing the charges will set a precedent that allows police to unlawfully enter homes, a space where you should feel safe. Trawick is another life ended by a cruel police force that continues to enforce racism and an abusive system that oppresses Black, Latinx, and other marginalized people. The mayor, a person of color himself, should be concerned about how his silence impacts all New Yorkers. We will continue to make sure Kawasaki Trawick’s name is heard,” said VP Community Mobilization Housing Works, Anthony Feliciano.

“El Puente supports the family of Kawaski Trawick's demand that Police Commissioner Edward Caban and Mayor Eric Adams fire the officers involved in Kawaski’s death,” said Marco Carrión, Executive Director of El Puente. “Kawaski's life mattered, and we will continue to organize and advocate for accountability so that families and communities can feel safe and supported.”

Full statement by Mr. Rickie Trawick, father of Kawaski Trawick, Tuesday October 10, 2023

"I wish I could be there in NY with you all. My son, Kawaski means everything to me so it’s hard to not be there. But unlike Brendan Thompson and Herbert Davis, my wife and I have had to lose work every time we fly to NY. And my mother, who loved Kawaski so much, just passed the week we heard this terrible news about the deputy commissioner’s backwards recommendation to drop the misconduct charges against Thompson and Davis. So I just couldn’t make it there this time but I am with you all in spirit and I thank the New Yorkers who are fighting for Kawaski with my family.

I want to make clear that we are demanding that Mayor Adams meet with my family and our team before a final discipline decision is made. In my mind, this is the least he could do – especially since he’s never said Kawaski’s name, he didn’t respond to the letter me and my wife hand-delivered for him, his staff haven’t even acknowledged any of the requests our team has made to him on our behalf.

Mayor Adams should meet with us because he needs to understand that if Thompson and Davis aren’t fired, then these cops – his cops – are literally getting away with murder. If he didn’t even know til last week that his NYPD had blocked the CCRB from getting video for almost 2 years, then there’s a lot more that I want to tell him and make sure he knows about how the NYPD has been rigging this to protect Thompson and Davis even though they did wrong.

What we want is what’s right – Thompson and Davis created a crisis where there was none, they murdered my son and they should have been fired four years ago. My son was minding his business, cooking in what should have been the safety of his own home when these cops barged in and refused to answer the basic question of why they were in his home.

Brendan Thompson and Herbert Davis need to be fired and Mayor Adams should meet with us before anyone makes a final decision.

Mayor Adams - If you can’t answer our questions and do what’s right and handle this situation the proper way like it should be done, then just give him back to us and we will go away."

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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.

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, grassroots organizers, lawyers, researchers and activists to work for change.

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