Family members of Kawaski Trawick are calling for justice after a judge dismissed disciplinary charges against two police officers who killed him in 2019, holding that the time period for them to be disciplined had passed.
When 32-year-old Kawaski Trawick got locked out of his Bronx apartment in the middle of cooking dinner in April 2019, he called 911. Firefighters arrived first on the scene and let Trawick back into his apartment. A few minutes later, Officers Brendan Thompson and Herbert Davis arrived on the scene.
“Within 112 seconds, the officers opened his door from the hallway, saw that Trawick was holding a bread knife near his stove, then tased and shot him during a verbal altercation in which the officers failed to de-escalate the situation,” reports LGTBQ news outlet Them. Devastatingly, the shots would prove to be fatal.
Afterward, “the Civilian Complaint Review Board [(CCRB)], the independent civilian agency tasked with investigating allegations of misconduct against members of the NYPD, had substantiated misconduct against both officers.” The CCRB even recommended that they be dismissed from the police force.
Instead, in 2020, the two officers “were cleared…of criminal wrongdoing, but the review board brought administrative charges of assault, unlawful entry and unlawful use of force against Officer Thompson,” per The New York Times. Officer Davis was charged with failure to render aid in addition to trespassing.
In a decision handed down September 20 of this year, Rosemarie Maldonado, the deputy commissioner of trials, argued for the charges to be dismissed. Maldonado cited that it was too late since the board waited five months to file, which was after the statute of limitations had passed.
Why was there such a delay? According to the CCRB, the Bronx District Attorney’s office wanted the board to wait until their prosecutorial team had concluded their criminal investigation. The DA’s office in turn blamed the police, who they said NYPD took “19 months to hand over evidence, including footage from the officers’ body cameras.”
Last week, Kawaski’s mother, Ellen Trawick, joined advocates at a rally near City Hall to protest. She told the crowd, “Kawaski came here to New York in 2019 to pursue a dream… He wanted to dance. But instead, Brendan Thompson and Herbert Davis took his life.”
Ms. Trawick continued, “The NYPD is trying to blame the CCRB, saying that the CCRB didn’t meet the time, but that’s not true,” adding, “They held all the evidence they needed to prosecute these officers,” Them reported.
Currently, NYPD is refraining from issuing any statements, stating that the “disciplinary process remains ongoing.” Police Commissioner Edward Caban will ultimately make the final decision on whether the officers will be disciplined.