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NYPD Officers May Be Cleared in Killing of Gay Black Man, According to Draft Report

NYPD Officers May Be Cleared in Killing of Gay Black Man, According to Draft Report

Kawaski Trawick

An advocacy group calls on Mayor Adams and Commissioner Caban to overturn the recommendation and decry continued obstruction and lack of accountability.

Cwnewser

A draft New York Police Department report suggests dismissing charges against two police officers implicated in the 2019 fatal shooting of Kawaski Trawick, a gay Black man killed in his Bronx apartment.

Officers Brendan Thompson and Herbert Davis are accused of breaching 32-year-old Trawick's door, entering without permission, and, within 112 seconds, tasing and shooting him.

A press release Monday from the Justice Committee, a grassroots New York-based movement against police violence and racism, criticized the internal report.

The advocacy group said NYPD’s Deputy Commissioner Rosemarie Maldonado claims that the Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) failed to serve the charges in a timely way, despite accusations of the NYPD delaying the process at every juncture.

Ellen Trawick, the mother of Kawaski Trawick, lambasted the efforts to shield the officers who “broke into his home and shot Kawaski in a matter of seconds.”

“The anguish we have had to face since our son was murdered in his own home is unbearable, a weight no parent should ever have to hold,” she said in the statement.

The Advocate spoke with Trawick’s mother in the spring to discuss her son’s killing.

“My family and I want these two officers to be fired,” Ellen Trawick said at the time. “They should not be able to receive any benefits or anything that comes with their work. They should be fired. They should not be allowed to continue to work as police officers anywhere.”

Loyda Colon, executive director of the Justice Committee, denounced the deputy commissioner’s attempt to “blame the CCRB for the NYPD’s delays and cover-ups” as “ridiculous” and a “lie,” noting the dangerous message it sends to the citizens of New York.

What happened to Kawaski Trawick?

As The Advocatereported in May, NYPD officers fatally shot Trawick in his home on April 14, 2019. The fatal encounter sparked controversy and calls for re-evaluating police response to mental health crises. Despite having no history of mental health emergencies, Trawick was assumed to be in crisis by the officers, who had allegedly entered his apartment improperly.

The Bronx District Attorney cleared the officers of criminal charges post-investigation, yet a civilian review board later recommended their termination for improper entry. More than four years after the incident, Trawick’s family and activists continue urging for the officers’ termination and better mental health training for the NYPD.

The incident, captured on body and security cameras, highlights a challenging grey area in police response to suspected mental health scenarios, fueling ongoing dialogues on police reform and accountability.

The ball is now in the court of New York City Mayor Eric Adams and newly appointed Police Commissioner Edward Caban to either endorse or reject this internal recommendation.

Kawaski’s father, Rickie Trawick, implored them to take action, calling the internal recommendation "outrageous" and encouraging the city to "finally do right by New Yorkers by firing Officers Thompson and Davis.”

Jawanza Williams, managing director of Organizing at VOCAL-NY, said the internal recommendation “puts all New Yorkers at risk” and could potentially signal that Mayor Adams and the NYPD “don’t care about Black gay lives, or Black lives, period.”

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Christopher Wiggins

Christopher Wiggins is a senior national reporter for The Advocate. He has a rich career in storytelling and highlighting underrepresented voices. Growing up in a bilingual household in Germany, his German mother and U.S. Army father exposed him to diverse cultures early on, influencing his appreciation for varied perspectives and communication. His work in Washington, D.C., primarily covers the nexus of public policy, politics, law, and LGBTQ+ issues. Wiggins' reporting focuses on revealing lesser-known stories within the LGBTQ+ community. Key moments in his career include traveling with Vice President Kamala Harris and interviewing her in the West Wing about LGBTQ+ support. In addition to his national and political reporting, Wiggins represents The Advocate in the White House Press Pool and is a member of several professional journalistic organizations, including the White House Correspondents’ Association, Association of LGBTQ+ Journalists, and Society of Professional Journalists. His involvement in these groups highlights his commitment to ethical journalism and excellence in the field. Follow him on X/Twitter @CWNewser (https://twitter.com/CWNewser) and Threads @CWNewserDC (https://www.threads.net/@cwnewserdc).
Christopher Wiggins is a senior national reporter for The Advocate. He has a rich career in storytelling and highlighting underrepresented voices. Growing up in a bilingual household in Germany, his German mother and U.S. Army father exposed him to diverse cultures early on, influencing his appreciation for varied perspectives and communication. His work in Washington, D.C., primarily covers the nexus of public policy, politics, law, and LGBTQ+ issues. Wiggins' reporting focuses on revealing lesser-known stories within the LGBTQ+ community. Key moments in his career include traveling with Vice President Kamala Harris and interviewing her in the West Wing about LGBTQ+ support. In addition to his national and political reporting, Wiggins represents The Advocate in the White House Press Pool and is a member of several professional journalistic organizations, including the White House Correspondents’ Association, Association of LGBTQ+ Journalists, and Society of Professional Journalists. His involvement in these groups highlights his commitment to ethical journalism and excellence in the field. Follow him on X/Twitter @CWNewser (https://twitter.com/CWNewser) and Threads @CWNewserDC (https://www.threads.net/@cwnewserdc).