Two New York parents are mourning the loss of their son to police brutality and poor crisis handling. Even worse, they’re mourning the loss at his murderers receiving punishment.
According to News One, Ellen Trawick, the mother of 32-year-old Kawaski Trawick, is sure that her son did not have to die by the hands of the New York City Police Department. Unfortunately, Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark doesn’t agree, as she chose not to press charges against Officers Brendan Thompson and Herbert Davis.
“After meeting with DA Clark’s staff, viewing surveillance and body camera footage, and listening to 911 calls it is 100% clear to me and my family that Kawaski should be alive today,” she said in a statement through the anti-police violence and anti-systematic racism group Justice Committee.
Kawaski Trawick’s death happened on the night of April 14, 2019. Trawick, who was openly bisexual, had locked himself out of his apartment while cooking. Trawick, in a panic, knocked on other doors in the neighborhood and called the Fire Department in fear that a fire was starting behind the locked door. But that wasn’t the only 911 call made that night. The building superintendent and a security guard also called 911 to report Trawick for banging on his neighbors’ doors. While the firefighters later arrived, broke down the door for Trawick, and saw that the stove hadn’t caught fire, the situation became deadly when NYPD officers Brendan Thompson and Herbert Davis arrived at the scene.
If not for this tweet, I would have known nothing about this case. For every martyr like George Floyd, there are hundreds of murdered Black people whose names we’ll never know.
Kawaski Trawick zichrono livracha. May your family be comforted among the mourners of the universe. https://t.co/t4YFv7EQaj
— WAP is Next to Godliness ✡️☭🌹 (@thespinsterymc) August 13, 2020
Thompson and Davis showed up to the apartment shortly after the firefighters left. They reportedly found Trawick only wearing underwear and holding a broom handle and a kitchen knife. After less than a two-minute conversation, the officers reportedly ordered Trawick to drop the “wooden stick and serrated knife” before tasering him. Thompson and Davis later reported that Trawick attempted to get up while they tried to arrest him. They reported that Trawick then threatened to attack and charged them. It’s then that they pulled out their guns and shot Trawick twice. Trawick was later pronounced dead at the Bronx Lebanon Hospital.
According to The City, Thompson and Davis received massive criticism for how they handled the incident. Despite both officers being trained in “crisis intervention,” neither took that training into consideration while confronting Trawick. And despite the security guard, who initially called the police, saying he seemed emotionally unstable and possibly intoxicated, despite admittedly not being aware of any mental health issues in his past, the 911 responder did not flag the response as one to an “emotionally disturbed person.”
The building Trawick lived in is called Hill House and is operated by Service for the Underserved, which helps “people with disabilities, people in poverty, and people facing homelessness.” Even worse, a Hill House director and the superintendent both guided police to Trawick’s floor. Neither mentioned the building’s intended services to the police. Trawick also allegedly had a difficult relationship with the superintendent. The superintendent not only previously called police about Trawick and accused him of harassment, but he also accused Trawick of threatening to punch him while banging on his door that infamous night.
All of these missteps in the procedure has led to Kawaski Trawick’s father, Ricky Trawick, stating that answers “really would be nice” and adding that all of the parties involved, “could have handled it in a different way.”
Kawaski Trawick’s mother feels the same way, who says the DA originally refused to show her the bodycam footage of the shooting. New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, who saw the bodycam footage, says the decsion to shoot was questionable. Instead, he says the officers should have “closed the door and regroup.”
“The officers who killed my son escalated the situation every step of the way by opening the door to his home while he was cooking, then yelling commands at him while he was nowhere near them, then tasing him while he posed no threat, and then shooting him,” she added. “They rendered no aid and let him die on the floor. Both of these officers were CIT-trained but instead of treating my son as a human worthy of dignity, they shot and killed him in cold blood, in his own home.”