At a rally outside 1 Police Plaza on Thursday, a coalition of youth groups and elected officials demanded that the two officers involved in the fatal shooting of Kawaski Trawick, a Black gay man, four years ago be fired.
The rallygoers urged Mayor Eric Adams and NYPD Police Commissioner Edward Caban to follow the recommendation of the Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) and terminate Brendan Thompson and Herbert Davis for their roles in the shooting during their response to a 911 call on April 14, 2019.
It’s been almost three months since the CCRB made that recommendation after ending its disciplinary trial for the two officers on May 11 . Yet both Thompson and Davis remain on the job, and participants in Thursday’s rally demanded answers and action from the mayor and the commissioner.
Youth activists from groups such as Make the Road New York, Sister Sol, Future of Tomorrow and others started out with a protest at City Hall Park, then marched over to nearby 1 Police Plaza — where located elected officials joined them in their quest for justice for Trawick and his family.
Davina Ramirez, a youth leader with ‘Make the Road New York,’ said that the youth groups are fighting on behalf of Trawick’s parents, Ellen and Rickie Trawick, who live in Georgia.
“We will fight and keep fighting for Kawasaki and all the New Yorkers who are less safe, feel less safe while Mayor Adams and the New York NYPD delay firing officer Brendan Thompson and Herbert Davis,” Ramirez said.
Trawick, a dancer and dance instructor, had locked himself out of his home in Morris Heights and called 911, falsely claiming “that the building was on fire.” Firefighters arrived, opened the door for the then-32-year-old Trawick, and left.
Officers Thompson and Davis arrived shortly after, responding to a separate 911 call that Trawick had been banging on doors with a stick and yelling.
Trawick was cooking when the two officers entered his home without permission. Trawick, who was holding a bread knife and a stick, asked the officers multiple times why they were in his home.
According to body camera footage released to the public, the officers can be heard telling Trawick repeatedly to drop the knife.
Eventually, Thompson first tasered Trawick and then fired the deadly shots.
Council Member Alexa Avilés, who presents District 38 in Brooklyn, demanded the firing of Thompson and David and said she would not let the mayor get away with gaslighting and lying to the community.
Avilés reminded Mayor Adams that at a town hall meeting in Sunset Park last week, he said, he would hold officers who break the law accountable.
“The Adams administration’s failure to take an active role in securing justice on behalf of the Trawick family and countless of other families who have died at the hands of police has not gone unnoticed,” Avilés said.
Council member Tiffany Cabán represents the 22nd district in Queens. Cabán pointed out that everything had already been said about Trawick in the four years seeking justice for him.
“I can talk about this endless four-plus year process, where we have not been able to get the simplest, common sense of things to fire these officers,” Cabán said. “We all saw it on tape. We saw how awful this response was. It should have never happened. Trawick deserved care, not cops.”
Council member Pierina Sanchez demanded Mayor Eric Adams and NYPD Commissioner Caban hold the officers accountable.
“This movement demands respect and dignity for our New Yorkers, for our LGBTQ and trans New Yorkers,” Sanchez said.
Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso recalled he started fighting for justice for Trawick as a council member.
“It took 20 months just to get information that they had they were trying to keep from us,” Reynoso said. “And the only way we got it is because we went to the courts, and the courts gave us access to the information, and we finally saw the injustice.”
Reynoso called on the mayor to uphold his campaign promise that “accountability would be the new way in the NYPD.”
Referring to the NYPD Headquarters behind him, Reynoso said, “In this agency, if you do something wrong, you can still collect your paycheck for four years like it never happened. You could take a life and keep doing your job for four years like it never happened. That is what this agency is all about, and nothing has changed.”
Elias Lopez, 16, traveled from Long Island to fight for justice for Trawick.
Lopez said that, coming from an immigrant family, he was afraid of the police.
“Friends and people I love, they just are uncomfortable with the police. So their fear affects me,” Lopez said. “[The police] treat us like animals, and as long as we’re not white and rich, that’s what they target us from.”
Pointing out that Kawaski Trawick’s death happened before Mayor Adams took office, a City Hall spokesperson said in a statement to amNewYork Metro, “Mayor Adams has continually invested in New Yorkers’ mental health and focused on where our need is greatest, going upstream to build a healthier city for all New Yorkers. Additionally, as Mayor Adams has repeatedly said, there is a sacred covenant that officers be given the tools and support they deserve to do their job, but that they must also follow the law and be held. The NYPD does not tolerate misconduct, and while this specific disciplinary process remains ongoing, the NYPD has taken multiple actions to improve community relations in recent years and they will continue to work every day to ensure justice and safety go hand in hand for all New Yorkers.”
amNewYork Metro reached out to the NYPD for a statement and has yet to hear back.