FORDHAM HEIGHTS, the Bronx (PIX11) — Two police officers who shot at and killed a man with mental health challenges may end up not facing any discipline. That’s the upshot of an NYPD administrative judge’s preliminary order. It’s just leaked to the public and is sparking reaction from the family of the man who was shot, Kawaski Trawick, 32, as well as from community activists and elected officials.
The reactions from all of them are consistent with what the family of Kawaski Trawick is calling for.
“The only thing that my family and I want is for these two officers to be fired,” Ellen Trawick said in an interview.
She said that that’s what Officers Brendan Thompson and Herbert Davis deserve.
The two officers responded at her son’s apartment shortly after 11 p.m. on April 14, 2019. Trawick had called 911 minutes earlier, after he’d locked himself out while cooking. Firefighters let him back in. While he was locked out, though, he’d been seen roaming the halls carrying a serrated cooking knife and a broomstick, and was knocking on neighbor’s doors. Building managers at the assisted living apartment building had called police.
After Trawick had been let back into his apartment, the officers responded there. Bodycam video from them showed Officer Thompson Tased Trawick, and then, when Trawick got back up, Thompson fired four shots from his gun, killing him.
What’s seen next on the bodycam video, which the NYPD didn’t release for more than a year-and-a-half after the incident, angers Jawanza Williams, the director of organizing at Vocal-NY, a citizens’ advocacy group that’s worked closely with the Trawick Family.
“They failed to render aid,” Williams said, referring to images captured on video from both the bodycam and surveillance cameras in the building at 1616 Grand Ave.
“And we didn’t even know this in public,” Williams continued, “not the Trawick Family, not the CCRB, not the general public. We had no idea for over 20 months what had occurred.”
That long lag time in the release of videos from the scene figures in strongly in the preliminary order from the NYPD administrative judge in the case, Deputy Commissioner Rosemarie Maldonado.
In her decision, a copy of which was obtained and first reported by the investigative outlet The City, the judge criticizes her own department. She faults the NYPD for not producing evidence quickly enough for the Civilian Complaint Review Board, or CCRB, to recommend discipline against the officers before a deadline for doing so had passed.
Williams, the activist, said that it was an indication of significant wrongdoing by police.
“The least that we could expect is that cops that murder us are fired from that position,” he said. “We cannot trust NYPD officers who kill our people.”
In recent weeks, at least half a dozen members of the New York City Council, as well as Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso, have called for the officers to be dismissed from duty.
On Tuesday, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams added to the conversation with a statement that read, in part: “…the reality is that no one can look at this case and not see wrongdoing by both officers, including by escalating the circumstances that led to the shooting and failing to adequately act to save Trawick’s life after the trigger was pulled. Both must be held accountable- as we continue work toward protecting and producing public safety, it is impossible to make progress without accountability for past injustices.”
Trawick’s mother, Ellen, raised the call once again for what she and her family see as the right course of action.
“Nothing is going to bring Kawaski back,” she said, “but these two officers need to be fired, for taking his life.”
The decision is now in the hands of Police Commissioner Edward Caban, and will likely be his first major action regarding a potential disciplinary case, in his two-month tenure.
For its part, the NYPD on Tuesday gave the same simple statement that it’s made for months regarding the case: “The disciplinary process remains ongoing.”