The Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) on June 9 recommended that the NYPD fire the police officer who fatally shot out queer Black man Kawaski Trawick in 2019 and bring accountability to both officers involved in the case.
The developments from the CCRB, which is an oversight agency of the NYPD, are emerging more than two years after officers Brendan Thompson and Herbert Davis entered Trawick’s apartment unit without his permission, leading to a deadly shooting on an evening when he was likely enduring distress. Trawick’s family and others — including Public Advocate Jumaane Williams — have repeatedly expressed frustration in response to the lack of accountability in the case. It was revealed this past April that the cops faced no disciplinary action.
“The CCRB substantiated multiple allegations of abuse of authority and use of force against police officers Herbert Davis and Brendan Thompson for killing Kawaski Trawick, and recommended charges be served against each officer for their role in this tragedy,” Ethan Teicher, the CCRB’s senior communications advisor, told Gay City News. “The CCRB is committed to following the NYPD’s new disciplinary matrix, administratively prosecuting these officers, and holding them accountable for their actions.”
Fred Davie, the chair of the CCRB, said in a tweet that the officers’ actions were “unreasonable” and “unjustified.”
“The officer who shot and killed [Trawick] should be fired,” Davie wrote. “We at [the CCRB] will do everything within our power to make sure that happens.”
While the CCRB did not elaborate further, the New York Post reported that the CCRB concluded that Thompson did not properly use his taser or his gun. Both Thompson and Davis are facing internal misconduct charges because they did not properly enter Trawick’s home and failed to immediately seek medical assistance, according to the New York Post.
When asked to respond to the CCRB, the NYPD told Gay City News that the department “will review the CCRB’s findings.”
Trawick resided in the Bronx at Hill House, a supportive living environment located at 1616 Grand Avenue. Call records from dispatchers on the night of Trawick’s death revealed a turbulent evening during which Trawick called 911, saying there was a fire and he was locked out, and the superintendent of his building and a security guard called police.
When the pair of officers arrived to his apartment, Trawick held a serrated knife and said he was cooking. He questioned the cops about why they entered his apartment, but instead of answering him, the officers directed him to put down his knife. Thompson subsequently tased Trawick and dropped the taser, but when Trawick recovered from the effects of the taser, Thompson fatally shot him.
In the aftermath of the shooting, officers were caught on camera describing Trawick as “just a perp.” Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark announced last August that she would not be charging the officers. Clark said at the time that she wanted to see “a thoughtful review of police procedures and training techniques,” but said “we do not find that the facts warrant a criminal prosecution.”
In response to the CCRB’s latest announcement, Trawick’s family reiterated their demands for prompt action to be taken against the officers involved in the case.
“We’re glad the CCRB was able to see there was wrongdoing on the part of NYPD officers Brendan Thompson and Herbert Davis for murdering our son, Kawaski Trawick, but we’re shocked that these officers are still on the force,” Trawick’s parents, Ellen and Ricky Trawick, said in a written statement. “We’ve watched the video of Kawaski’s killing over and over again and it’s clear that Thompson and Davis created a crisis that didn’t exist, escalated at every step, and then killed our son in cold-blood — and they did this in 112 seconds.”
They added, “After shooting Kawaski, Thompson and Davis made no attempt to save his life — they left him behind a closed door while they worried about themselves. Kawaski was killed while he was cooking in his own apartment — where he would have been safe if it weren’t for officers Thompson and Davis. Our son should be alive and Brendan Thompson and Herbert Davis must be fired. We’re demanding that the CCRB move swiftly to file the formal charges with the NYPD and that Mayor de Blasio and the NYPD waste no time serving the charges on Thompson and Davis so the discipline trial can move forward.”
Williams, who was one of the first people to view the body camera footage before it was released, told Gay City News in 2019 that police officers need to be better prepared for such situations, saying that “it was quite clear that they had every opportunity to come out of that house and instead they stayed in.”
Williams welcomed the CCRB’s announcement and stressed that police officers should not have been the ones responding to the case at all.
“After the NYPD claimed that there had been no wrongdoing by the officer who killed Kawaski Trawick, denying what New Yorkers could plainly see on video, I am glad that the CCRB saw past that and substantiated charges against both officers for their roles in his death,” William said on June 10. “I hope that these charges lead to swift action that this administration has failed to bring again and again in cases of officer misconduct.”
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