Officer who fatally shot Kawaski Trawick 5 years ago won’t be disciplined, police commissioner says

Apr 12, 2024, 4:47 PM

NEW YORK (AP) — Two New York City police officers involved in the fatal shooting of Kawaski Trawick inside his Bronx apartment five years ago will not face internal discipline, the city’s police commissioner, Edward Caban, announced Friday.

In a statement, Caban said the officers, Brendan Thompson and Herbert Davis, “acted within the law” in the lead-up to the 32-year-old’s death. He accused the city’s police oversight board of waiting too long to bring administrative charges against the officers, adding that they were not guilty of any criminal conduct.

The 2019 killing of Trawick, a Black man, by a white police officer touched off widespread outrage in New York, followed by years of frustration over what some viewed as efforts by the police department to stall the investigation into his death.

Ellen and Rickie Trawick, the victim’s parents, described the commissioner’s ultimate determination as disgraceful. “The utter disregard they have for our son’s memory, to make this decision on the five-year anniversary of his death is disgusting and shameful,” they added.

Trawick, an aspiring dancer who suffered from mental health issues, was living in a supportive housing facility in the Bronx when he called 911 on the night of April 14, 2019.

After the fire department helped him inside, police arrived at the apartment and pushed open the door, finding Trawick shirtless and holding a knife. In body-worn camera footage, Trawick can be heard telling them he was cooking and asking why they are inside his home.

As Trawick moved toward them, Officer Thompson fired his Taser at Trawick, then shot him four times with his handgun, even as his partner urged him not to use force. The full incident — between officers arriving at the door and Thompson fatally shooting Trawick — lasted under two minutes.

The district attorney in the Bronx declined to bring charges against the officers. An internal New York Police Department investigation found no wrongdoing on the part of Thompson or his partner.

Caban’s decision not to impose discipline came nearly one year after a civilian agency charged with oversight of the NYPD brought administration charges against the officers, who they said should have de-escalated the situation before entering the apartment and more quickly administered aid following the shooting.

An administrative judge overseeing the case found the review board waited too long to bring the misconduct charges — a delay the board blamed on the NYPD failing to turn over body-camera footage and other evidence in a timely fashion.

The judge’s final decision, against imposing penalties on the officers, served only as a recommendation for Caban, who has the final say over all disciplinary decisions.

In his statement, Caban said the review board had brought their charges after the statute of limitations. He said the department has since adopted a new policy obligating them to provide body-camera footage to the board within 90 days of a request.

New York City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams said Friday that the NYPD was ultimately responsible for the delays and described their disciplinary process as “incredibly disturbing.”

“For five years, the Trawick family has been forced to fight for any semblance of acknowledgment and accountability for their son’s killing, but they have only faced significant obstruction by the NYPD,” she said. “Ultimately, the Trawick family and all New Yorkers are left without the accountability they deserve from the city’s police department.”

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