Elected officials call on city to keep disciplinary trial date in Trawick case

The late Kawaski Trawick.
The late Kawaski Trawick.
Facebook/Kawaski Trawick

Dozens of state and city elected officials signed a letter calling on Mayor Eric Adams and NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell to move forward, as planned, with a disciplinary trial next month for the police officers who were involved in the killing of Kawaski Trawick, who was shot dead by the police at his home in the Bronx in 2019. 

According to the letter, the Police Benevolent Association (PBA) union attorneys representing the two cops involved in the case — Brendan Thompson and Herbert Davis — requested the dismissal of disciplinary charges against the officers and sought to block the Civilian Complaint Review Board from handing down further punishment. Thompson and Davis are slated to begin their disciplinary trial on April 24.

The letter represented the latest effort to bring accountability to the case after investigations and video footage revealed the sequence of events leading to Trawick’s death on an evening when he appeared to be experiencing distress. Trawick was cooking at his home — a supportive living environment at 1616 Grand Avenue in the Bronx — when the cops arrived. The building superintendent and a security guard had called police and said Trawick was annoying his neighbors. Trawick, meanwhile, told police there was a fire and that he had locked himself out of his apartment. When firefighters arrived and did not find a fire, they allowed him back into his apartment.

Later, Thompson and Davis entered the apartment without asking Trawick, who was holding a serrated knife because he was in the middle of cooking. When he asked officers to explain why they were in his home, they ignored him and told him to drop the knife. Trawick then turned off a radio and again asked the officers why they were in his home. 

Thompson then tased Trawick, causing him to fall down, at which point Thompson holstered his gun and walked further into the apartment. Trawick then screamed and rose again, at which point Thompson — who had tossed his taser — shot Trawick four times. One of the bullets struck Trawick in the heart, killing him. 

“The 40 elected officials signed on to this letter urge you to allow the CCRB to do its job and continue with the disciplinary proceeding against Officers Brendan Thompson & Herbert Davis — as scheduled, on April 24th,” the letter stated.

The CCRB previously substantiated allegations of abuse of authority and use of force against both officers and recommended the firing of Thompson.

“We respectfully request that you quickly reject — as soon as possible, this month — the PBA’s  latest attempt to undermine accountability so that they are not able to further delay the scheduled discipline trial,” the elected officials continued. “Dismissing the CCRB charges & specifications and removing the CCRB from this case at this stage, almost four years after Kawaski Trawick was killed, would undermine faith in government. This last-ditch ploy by the police union lawyers is fundamentally unfair to the Trawick family and to New Yorkers.”

Among the elected officials signing the letter were Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, Comptroller Brad Lander, City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams, Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, and numerous state lawmakers and councilmembers, including out State Senators Brad Hoylman of Manhattan and Jabari Brisport of Brooklyn as well as out Councilmembers Chi Ossé and Crystal Hudson of Brooklyn, Tiffany Cabán of Queens, and Kristin Richardson Jordan of Manhattan.

Trawick’s parents, Ellen and Rickie Trawick, praised the elected officials for supporting them “to make sure that the police union can’t just change the rules behind closed doors, weeks before the discipline trial is scheduled.”

“Now we need Mayor Adams and Commissioner Sewell to do what’s right and reject the police union lawyers’ request so the trial can move forward in April,” Trawick’s parents added.

Gay City News has reached out to the PBA for comment.