The family of a Black man who was Tasered, shot and killed in his apartment by NYPD officers was reacting with outrage at a prosecutor’s decision against charging the cops who were involved. The decision came amid nationwide protests against police violence and racism and what if oftentimes a deadly combination of the two.
Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark announced Wednesday that her office would not bring charges against the two NYPD officers who responded to separate 911 calls about Kawasaki Trawick, who police said was armed with a broom stick and a knife when he was shot twice during the deadly encounter in April of last year.
Trawick’s mother blasted Clark’s decision and questioned police protocol and training for handling situations like the one with her 32-year-old son. Ellen Trawick said she was “heartbroken” but not surprised.
“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 said in a lengthy statement emailed to NewsOne from the Justice Committee, a nonprofit group advocating against police violence and systemic racism in New York City. “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.”
Ellen Trawick said her son “struggled with mental health challenges” and lived in “a supportive living facility” so he could “get support and care.” She said “instead of being protected there, he was criminalized and murdered by the NYPD.”
She called for both cops to be fired and accused Clark’s office of treating her disrespectfully. “And now, they are closing my son’s case without holding either of the officers involved accountable,” she said.
On the night of April 14, 2019, Kawaski Trawick locked himself out of his apartment while he was cooking. Fearing that a fire may start, firefighters let him back in. But a security guard and the building’s superintendent called 911 because Kawaski Trawick was banging on neighbors’ doors, according to reports. That prompted NYPD officers Brendan Thompson and his partner Herbert Davis to respond to the apartment, where they reportedly found Kawaski Trawick only wearing underwear and holding a broomstick in one hand and a kitchen knife in the other. After reportedly ordering him to drop the broomstick and knife, he was Tasered. When he got up afterward, the cops shot him.
“Officer Brendan Thompson in particular seemed to want to cause harm, he tased my son after his partner told him not to, and then he shot my son,” Ellen Trawick said.
“It is not right that he was living at Hill House to get support but they called the police on him, when they could have helped him get back into his apartment when he needed to. It’s not right that the NYPD showed up, entered his home while he was not a threat to anyone, barked orders at him, tased him, and gunned him down,” she added. “If Kawaski were with us today, I know he would be demanding accountability and change so that what happened to him doesn’t happen to others. Since my son was stolen from us, my family will be fighting to demand that Mayor de Blasio and the NYPD fire Officers Brendan Thompson and Herbert Davis.”
New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams saw the bodycam footage that Ellen Trawick said Darcel denied her. Williams questioned why the police needed to resort to lethal force when their lives were not being threatened. He suggested at the time that all the officers needed to do was “just close the door and regroup.”
Darcel’s decision against charging Thompson and Davis came after months of protests across the country that were sparked in part by the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis on Memorial Day. As a result, Congress and the Senate have introduced dueling bills to re-imagine policing and possibly defund departments. In was against that contextual backdrop that Darcel decided Kawaski’s killers were within their legal rights to shoot him to death in his own home.
This is America.