Dozens of protesters rallied outside police headquarters in downtown Manhattan Thursday to urge NYPD Commissioner Edward Caban to buck the recommendation of an administrative judge that the officers involved in the shooting death of 32-year-old Kawaski Trawick face no discipline.
Trawick, a personal trainer and dancer with a history of mental health and substance use challenges, was shot and killed by officer Brendan Thompson while cooking in his Bronx apartment in April 2019.
Trawick’s parents and advocates have been calling for four years for Thompson and his partner, Herbert Davis, to be fired.
As THE CITY reported, NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Administrative Trials Rosemarie Maldonado last week recommended no discipline for the officers, saying that whether the duo violated police procedures was moot because the Civilian Complaint Review Board had missed a statute of limitations for bringing charges against them.
The missed deadline meant the CCRB, an independent investigative body, had to prove the officers’ conduct constituted a crime — something Maldonado said the agency failed to do at an administrative trial held in the spring.
Her draft decision, which was obtained by THE CITY, failed to account for the fact that the NYPD caused the vast majority of the CCRB’s investigative delays by withholding body-cam footage of Trawick’s killing for over a year-and-a-half.
“To delay and delay and delay, and then say on a technicality, ‘You filed the motion too late. Sorry, you took too long, you passed the two-year statute of limitations’ — [there’s] zero credibility in this agency,” Brooklyn state Sen. Jabari Brisport said of the NYPD at the rally. “This is an abomination, and we need those two officers fired.”
Maldonado’s final recommendation is expected to be sent within weeks to Caban, who has full latitude to make any disciplinary decision — ranging from no penalty to termination.
Caban recently altered a recommendation by Maldonado in the case of Sgt. Hugh Barry — who fatally shot a mentally ill woman in The Bronx in 2016 as she held a baseball bat — by allowing Barry to resign rather than terminating him, the New York Daily News recently reported.
Maldonado had recommended termination in that case, but Caban’s decision allowed Barry to keep his pension.
Caban’s ruling in the Trawick case is poised to be his second high-profile decision.
On Wednesday, City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams urged Caban to hold Thompson and Davis accountable.
“After delays and impediments by the NYPD to provide key evidence, those delays now being used as the reason to recommend no discipline is unjustifiable,” said Adams. “Commissioner Caban can and must hold these officers accountable for misconduct — it’s what Kawaski’s family, New Yorkers, and officers who have not engaged in misconduct deserve from the NYPD.”
Trawick’s parents didn’t attend Thursday’s rally because of the recent death of Kawaski’s grandmother.
But they had a statement read by an advocate in which they demanded that Mayor Eric Adams meet with them and their team ahead of any final decision by Caban.
“That’s the least Mayor Adams can do,” they said in the statement. “And if he cares about fairness, we know that after meeting with us and our team he’ll have no choice but to make sure that the NYPD’s final decision is to fire Thompson and Davis.”
A City Hall spokesperson didn’t immediately respond when asked if Adams would entertain such a meeting.
Caban was appointed police commissioner in July after the resignation of former police commissioner Keechant Sewell — whose exit stemmed in part from her decision to go against the wishes of Mayor Eric Adams by disciplining the department’s top-ranking uniformed cop, Chief of Department Jeffrey Maddrey.
Maddrey improperly ordered police in Brownsville to release and void the arrest of an ex-cop who had allegedly menaced three kids with a gun in November 2021, according to the CCRB.