Mayor speaks on Kawaski Trawick case as family and advocates rally near City Hall

Kawaski Trawick, a gay man, was shot to death by police in his Bronx home in 2019.
Kawaski Trawick, a gay man, was shot to death by police in his Bronx home in 2019.
Facebook/Kawaski Trawick

As Kawaski Trawick’s mother and advocates rallied near City Hall on Oct. 10, Mayor Eric Adams said he would be open to meeting with Trawick’s parents and that Police Commissioner Edward Caban would “look into” reports of NYPD delays in the disciplinary process surrounding the police officers involved in the case.

The entire case, at this point, revolves around whether Officers Brendan Thompson and Herbert Davis will face any punishment for their role in the 2019 fatal police shooting of Trawick, a 32-year-old out gay man who was cooking when the two officers entered his home without permission. Thompson tased Trawick and fatally shot him in a two-minute incident that resulted in both officers facing misconduct charges that were substantiated by the Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB). Ultimately, the CCRB recommended terminating the officers.

Rosemarie Maldonado, an NYPD deputy commissioner responsible for overseeing misconduct cases among officers, recently recommended no punishment for the officers, according to The City, saying that the CCRB did not file paperwork within a specific timeframe. Officials such as City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams, however, insisted that NYPD delays in handing over evidence made it impossible for the CCRB to meet deadlines on time. The CCRB partly blamed the delay on a request by the Bronx District Attorney’s Office to wait until prosecutors concluded a criminal probe, according to the New York Times, and the CCRB also said the NYPD took 19 months to present video footage.

It is now up to the Adams administration to determine whether the officers will face punishment. Speaking at a press conference on Oct. 10, Mayor Adams said Caban was out of town when reporters had last asked about the case, but he said the commissioner will “find out [what] was the delay on our part, exactly what happened in the delay, because we don’t want to interfere with the wheels of justice. It can’t happen on our end, so he’s looking into that.”

Mayor Eric Adams said the NYPD commissioner is "looking into" reports of NYPD delays in the Kawaski Trawick case.
Mayor Eric Adams said the NYPD commissioner is “looking into” reports of NYPD delays in the Kawaski Trawick case.Donna Aceto

The mayor previously voiced similar comments to Gay City News in June when he said he did not want to interfere with the case directly “because that opens up lawsuits” and that the city should “let the process happen.”

“We are in a city with due process, and the police commissioner will make the ultimate decision,” the mayor told Gay City News at the time.

“And once this is completed,” the mayor said on Oct. 10, “I don’t have a problem meeting and sitting down with the family. But I would like for it to complete, because it’s up to the commissioner to make the final determination. But meeting with families of violence of any level or any crisis is something that I do, because you know, that’s the role I must have.”

Trawick’s mother, Ellen Trawick, responded to the mayor in a written statement on Oct. 10.

“Eric Adams is responsible if these officers kill again,” Trawick said. “It’s an abdication of his responsibilities to refuse to meet with us before a decision is made, to refuse to look me and my husband in the eyes, to finally say my son’s name, and to promise to do right by Kawaski and the people of New York by firing the officers who killed him… Our demands are the same: we demand that Mayor Adams meet with us before a decision is made, and we demand that the officers who killed Kawaski are immediately fired.”

Ellen Trawick was joined at the rally by Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, State Senators Julia Salazar of Brooklyn and Jessica Ramos of Queens, and City Councilmember Pierina Ana Sanchez of the Bronx. Justice Committee, Housing Works, VOCAL-NY, Make the Road NY, El Puente, Communities United for Police Reform, Jews for Racial & Economic Justice, Showing Up for Racial Justice, and Equality for Flatbush also supported the rally.