Kawaski Trawick’s mother responds to DA report and demands firing of NYPD officers

Kawaski Trawick
Photo via Slaters Funeral Home

A report released on Nov. 17 by District Attorney Darcel Clark cleared NYPD officers of any wrongdoing in the 2019 death of Kawaski Trawick. In August, Clark announced she would not seek to indict officers for the killing of the Bronx resident.

His mother, Ellen Trawick, demanded justice for her son and urged Mayor de Blasio and the NYPD to fire the officers who were responsible.

“It’s crystal clear from the video and the facts that NYPD Officers Brendan Thompson and Herbert Davis unnecessarily killed my son,” Ellen Trawick said. “Kawaski was cooking in his own apartment, not a threat to anyone when Davis and Thompson entered his home without permission and immediately escalated the encounter resulting in Kawaski’s death. They refused to answer when my son repeatedly asked them why they were in his home.”

According to the official report, 32-year-old Kawaski Trawick was locked out of his Hill House apartment on April 14, 2019. FDNY personnel let Trawick back into his home and he had already started cooking when NYPD Officers Brendan Thompson and Herbert Davis arrived at Hill House.

The report said that Trawick asked the officers multiple times why they were in his home and he explained to them that he was “just cooking.” Thompson and Davis allegedly refused to answer Trawick’s questions, yelled orders at him and tased and killed him within minutes of their arrival.

“If Thompson and Davis had treated Kawaski like a human being, he would be alive today. Because of the failure of the Bronx DA to indict these officers, I’m focused today on fighting to make sure that Mayor de Blasio and the NYPD fire Thompson and Davis because the way they killed my son makes them a clear danger to New Yorkers,” Ellen Trawick said.

The investigation allegedly showed that responding officers were not guilty of any criminality but it also revealed that responding officers lacked information that “would have been helpful” when they encountered Trawick at Hill House. The investigation also showed that there was a “gap in communication” with Hill House, the nonprofit supportive housing facility on Grand Avenue where Trawick lived.

Following Trawick’s death, the investigation found a need for “a thoughtful review of police procedures and training techniques” in similar interactions.

“Once again, we have a death that painfully illustrates that changes are needed in the response to those in mental health crisis, and that we as a community must do better to provide appropriate assistance for residents of supportive housing in the City,” Clark said. “There must be treatment and services readily available to prevent persons from reaching a point where they may cause harm to themselves or others. I continue to encourage a productive conversation about how to better approach calls to help people in crisis to avoid an escalation resulting in a fatality.”

Clark gave her condolences to Trawick’s friends and family, who she said “deserved a thorough, transparent investigation” into his death. The DA’s office released the full report and video footage from the officers’ body camera and also from building surveillance cameras.

Royce Russell, the attorney for Trawick’s family, said he could not believe the cops were not charged and that the city dragged its feet in announcing its findings.

“After more than a year and a half, the District Attorney’s office chose not to indict in this case and has released a biased report that has a slant by way of omissions, which clouds the air of transparency,” Russell said. “We need the media and public to be critical readers and thinkers when reviewing this report, and to watch the video in totality. Since the DA is not pursuing this case further, I fully expect the DA’s office to act in good faith with humanity being at the forefront of their intentions — and the best way to do that at this stage is through full transparency and by releasing all relevant documents and reports to the family of Kawaski Trawick, so that this family has the tools to seek accountability and justice for the killing of Kawaski.”