LOWER MANHATTAN (PIX11) — The family of Kawaski Trawick, the 30-year-old killed by police gunfire after two officers entered his Bronx apartment, called on Mayor Eric Adams and Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell to swiftly reach a decision regarding the officers’ fate.
They called for Officers Brendan Thompson and Herbert Davis to be fired from the NYPD as soon as possible, and they asked that the mayor try to speed the process in a case that’s now four years old.
“Watch the video,” urged Trawick’s father, Rickie, who was visiting New York with his family from their home in Milledgeville, Georgia. “Bad policing, that’s no good in New York,” he continued and referenced the two officers. “Get rid of them,” he said. “We don’t need that.”
Trawick’s father referred to a video of the April 2019 incident recorded by the body camera of one of the officers. It shows how they opened Trawick’s unlocked door to find him in his kitchen with a knife and a stick. He’d told them that he was cooking and ordered them to leave his home. They told him 19 times to drop the knife.
Also captured on video was Officer Davis telling his partner repeatedly not to use force in the incident. Officer Thompson, the partner, is seen on the video seconds later Tasing Trawick and then, shortly after that, shooting him. The two officers did not offer first aid.
On Monday morning, Trawick’s mother, Ellen, joined her other family members and activists in a rally outside of City Hall, seeking action in her son’s case.
“It’s been four years too long,” Ellen Trawick said. “These officers should already be fired.”
Legal action in the case was delayed in part by the pandemic, but an investigation by the Bronx district attorney did not find criminal wrongdoing by the officers. Also, an NYPD review of the incident concluded that the shooting was justified.
After being tased, Trawick ended up charging at the officers while holding the knife.
Now, the officers are defending themselves at an internal NYPD trial at police headquarters. Trawick’s family had been present for most of the trial last week but had to return home to Georgia while that proceeding continues.
The case is being tried before NYPD Deputy Commissioner Rosemarie Maldonado, the police administrative judge. After the trial concludes, Maldonado will make a ruling. That decision will then be reviewed by Police Commissioner Sewell, who will then decide the officers’ fate, which could include firing them from the department.
That process, though, is not necessarily swift.
Loyda Colon, the executive director of the Justice Committee, an activist group that’s advocating for the Trawick Family, stood next to the Trawicks on Monday and pointed out, “It’s actually not months, it’s years” oftentimes for the process to complete its course. There’s “no timeline, no deadline for Police Commissioner Sewell to make her decision.”
It’s why Trawick’s family walked from their rally outside of City Hall into the building, along with some supportive City Council members. They went straight to the mayor’s office to deliver a letter that Ellen Trawick wrote, asking Adams to do all he can to make the review process for Thompson and Davis as fast as he can.
“They need to be fired within weeks,” Ellen Trawick said. “It’s been four years too long. It’s long overdue.”
The mayor was not available to meet the family in person. His office, however, released a statement:
“Mayor Adams has continually invested in New Yorkers’ mental health and focused on where our need is greatest, going upstream to build a healthier city for all New Yorkers. Additionally, as Mayor Adams has repeatedly said, there is a sacred covenant that officers be given the tools and support they deserve to do their job, but that they must also follow the law and be held. The NYPD does not tolerate misconduct, and while this specific disciplinary process remains ongoing, the NYPD has taken multiple actions to improve community relations in recent years and they will continue to work every day to ensure justice and safety go hand in hand for all New Yorkers.”
Adams became mayor in January of last year, nearly three years after Trawick was shot.
The NYPD also released a brief statement: “The disciplinary process remains ongoing.”
Ellen Trawick said that she and her family hope that the review process for the officers takes no more than six months and results in their dismissal.
“It’s just been way too long and too stressful,” she said. “Something just needs to be done. These officers just need to be held accountable.”