The mother of a bisexual Black man who was shot to death by police last year is demanding answers after the Bronx District Attorney announced yesterday she will not press charges against the police officers involved in that fatal shooting. DA Darcel Clark declined to press charges against Officers Brendan Thompson and Herbert Davis, who shot and killed Kawaski Trawick, 32, in his apartment while he was cooking dinner in his underwear on April 14, 2019.
“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,” Ellen Trawick said in a statement.
On the night of April 14, 2019, Kawaski Trawick locked himself out of his apartment while he was cooking. He called firefighters who arrived, broke though the door, and then left when they found no fire. However, a security guard and the building’s superintendent called 911 because Kawaski was banging on neighbors’ doors, according to reports.
The responding NYPD officers Brendan Thompson and his partner Herbert Davis came minutes after the firefighters had left, where they reportedly found 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, police tasered Trawick. Police say that when the officers tried to arrest him, he got up, threatened the officers, and charged. One officer opened fire with his gun, striking Trawick twice. He was pronounced dead a short time later at Bronx Lebanon Hospital.
Critics claim that the incident was handled incorrectly from the start. NYPD policy would have called for officers to use deadly force “only as a last resort to protect the life.” It is unclear why the 911 operator did not alert officers that Trawick was having a mental health episode during the incident.
Trawick's mother says that the DA originally refused to show her the bodycam footage of the shooting while she was accompanied by others, including local activists concerned about the case.
New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, who saw the bodycam footage, told NewsOne he questioned the need for the shooting at all. At the time he suggested the officers only needed to “close the door and regroup.”
For now, a grieving Kawaski wants answers and accountability for the officers who shot and killed her son.
“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.”
Trawick’s father Ricky expressed similar concerns as well last year when he told The City in a phone interview that the shooting was unnecessary.
“I don’t think they really had to kill my son,” Ricky Trawick said. “I don’t think they had to shoot him and shoot him dead like that.”