Ahead of the disciplinary trial of two NYPD officers who shot and killed a 32-year-old man in his own apartment four years ago, the parents of victim Kawaski Trawick on Wednesday called on city leaders to terminate the cops.
Trawick was in his own apartment within a supportive housing building in The Bronx on April 14, 2019, when one of the officers fired a Taser at him before shooting four times — all within two minutes of pushing the front door open to gain entry.
“[Officers] Brendan Thompson and Herbert Davis took Kawaski away from me — they murdered him,” said Kawaski’s mother, Ellen Trawick, during a news conference outside police headquarters in Lower Manhattan. She was joined by Ricky Trawick, his father. “We need Mayor Adams and Commissioner Sewell to fire these two officers.”
The Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) is prosecuting the administrative trial of the two officers, which begins April 24 at One Police Plaza. If found guilty, the cops could face disciplinary measures ranging from a loss of vacation days to termination.
But only one NYPD member since 2012 has been fired based on a CCRB probe: Daniel Pantaleo, the officer who fatally choked Eric Garner on Staten Island in 2014.
The board voted in June 2021 to charge both cops in the Trawick killing with multiple instances of abuse of authority, including for failing to render medical aid to Trawick after he was shot, while Thompson — who fired both his Taser and his gun — was additionally charged with multiple counts of improper use of force.
No matter the outcome of the trial and recommendation of the administrative judge, Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell has full discretion to mete out discipline of any severity — including no penalty.
The rally at One Police Plaza, where Trawick’s parents were joined by their attorney, Royce Russell, and dozens of advocates and elected officials, was held two days before the four-year mark of their son’s killing.
The family and advocates highlighted a series of outrages they say they’ve experienced since that day, including a 20-month delay in law enforcement providing even limited body-worn camera footage of the incident, and Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark’s decision not to prosecute the case criminally. The NYPD’s Force Investigation Division also found no misconduct in the case.
‘The Job Was Done Wrong’
The full video of the incident wasn’t released until ProPublica got ahold of it and co-published it with THE CITY a year and a half after the shooting.
As THE CITY previously reported, it was FDNY firefighters who first responded to 911 calls from the building, after Kawaski Trawick reported being locked out of his apartment while cooking food on his stove. They let him into his apartment by breaking open the door, and left.
Because of another 911 call saying Trawick was banging on neighbors’ doors, two NYPD officers showed up minutes later and pushed his busted door open — finding him holding a serrated knife and wooden stick while in his kitchen, police body-cam footage shows.
He repeatedly asked them why they were in his home, while Thompson answered only by ordering him over and over again to drop the knife.
Despite Davis telling Thompson early in the encounter not to deploy his Taser, Thompson fired a jolt that struck Trawick and knocked him down.
But he got up, yelling, “I’m gonna kill you all! Get out!” the video shows, and was moving toward the cops when Thompson fired the fatal shots.
An attorney for Thompson didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment, while an attorney for Davis couldn’t be reached.
The head of their union, Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch, has previously pointed out the lack of findings of wrongdoing by the Bronx DA and the NYPD’s force division.
“CCRB is not claiming it has any new evidence that would change those findings,” Lynch said in a statement from the PBA on Wednesday. “This is yet another undeniable tragedy that anti-police activists are exploiting to advance their own agenda.”
Also on Wednesday, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams asked how many mistakes police officers had to make in order to lose their job.
“From start to finish the job was done wrong, someone is dead, and no one is accountable,” Williams said at the rally. “I can’t think of any other job where this would be allowed.”