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Shame Upon New York City: Kawaski Trawick’s Killers to Face No Discipline

Five years after police killed Trawick, the NYPD announced there will be no consequences in a late-Friday news dump

The police killing of Kawaski Trawick posed a moral test that Eric Adams failed. (Facebook / Benny Polatseck | Mayoral Photography Office)

In 2019, when NYPD officers Herbert Davis and Brendan Thompson broke the chain holding Kawaski Trawick's apartment door and pushed his door open, surprising him in the process of cooking dinner, and within 112 seconds of having done so, tased him and fatally shot him, that was shameful enough.

As they left him to bleed out on the floor of his home, making no effort to render life-saving aid, that was shameful enough.

When one of the other cops who came afterwards to mill about the scene asked the two officers if anyone was hurt and they both answered, "Nobody, just a perp," that was shameful enough.

Certainly it was shameful enough when Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark decided, more than a year after the killing, that the cops who took Trawick's life had engaged in no criminality, and washed her hands of the life snuffed out on her watch.

It was shameful enough when the NYPD's own investigation of the killing consisted of cursory 30-minute interviews with Davis and Thompson and did not explore the discrepancies between their testimony and the video footage.

It was shameful enough when the NYPD used its monopoly on access to body-worn camera footage—a tool introduced to hold the department accountable—to withhold damning evidence of Trawick's killing from civilian investigators for more than a year and a half.

When the Civilian Complaint Review Board, after belatedly receiving the video evidence from the NYPD, substantiated charges against the officers and prosecuted them in front of NYPD administrative judge, only to have the trial further delayed and dragged out, forcing Trawick's family to repeatedly take time off of work to travel to New York to attend hearings, it was shameful enough.

When, at the conclusion of the trial, the NYPD official acting as a judge ruled that because of the long delay, the statute of limitations had expired, and recommended that the officers should face no discipline, that was shameful enough.

It was shameful enough when the NYPD commissioner allowed almost an entire year to pass after that disciplinary trial making no final disciplinary ruling whatsoever, as Trawick's family sat with their grief, wondering if there was a last shred of accountability and justice left to them.

When the mayor dodged questions about the case, it was shameful enough. When he claimed to be unfamiliar with the growing body of reporting documenting the misconduct that killed Trawick, it was shameful enough.

When the mayor refused their repeated entreaties to meet with them, when he declined to so much as speak Kawaski Trawick's name throughout this time, it was shameful enough.

It was more than shameful when, in this sprawling interval of without a disciplinary ruling, NYPD officers responded to a 911 call from Win Rozario, a 19-year-old seeking help with an acute mental health crisis, and promptly shot him to death in his mother's arms.

When, just this last Wednesday, on the fifth anniversary of Trawick's death, the mayor's office and the NYPD both refused to answer any questions about the disciplinary proceeding or why it was taking so long, that was shameful enough.

And when, shortly before 5 p.m. on Friday, the hour when craven officials the world over drop news they want to see buried, news for which they want to take no responsibility, the NYPD released a statement from Police Commissioner Edward Caban announcing that Herbert Davis and Brendan Thompson will face no consequences at all for ending a New Yorker's life; when they dropped this Friday evening news without so much as a courtesy notification to Trawick's bereaved family, when the mayor stayed mum and kept his distance from the ugliness of his own administration's doing—this was enough shame for us all, for every New Yorker in whose name the police and the government killed Kawaski Trawick, then covered it up.

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