2038 9 days ago
2038 9 days ago
Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark on November 17 released police body camera and hallway surveillance footage showing the moment when NYPD officers entered a Black queer man’s apartment last year and shot him to death in a case that has fueled outrage.
Clark also unveiled a report outlining the incident more than a year and a half after 32-year-old Kawaski Trawick was gunned down by police on April 14, 2019, at Hill House, a supportive living environment at 1616 Grand Avenue in the Bronx.
The footage and report reaffirmed the anger of advocates and family members who have maintained that officers failed to properly de-escalate the situation before resorting to killing a man in his own apartment. Trawick’s family is also warning the public that they feel the report released by the DA is biased.
The fatal shooting concluded a brief but chaotic encounter during which the superintendent of Trawick’s building and a security guard both called police and alleged that Trawick was annoying neighbors. Trawick had also called 911 that same evening and said there was a fire and that he was locked out of his apartment, which culminated in the fire department opening his apartment for him. A fire was never found and records of calls with dispatchers notably indicate Trawick was experiencing distress.
When a pair of NYPD cops subsequently arrived on the scene, Officer Herbert Davis initially knocked on Trawick’s door. When nobody answered, Davis knocked again, but then opened Trawick’s door without his permission.
With the door opened, Trawick — who was holding a stick and a serrated knife and said he was cooking — asked why the cops entered his apartment. Officers ignored the question and asked him repeatedly to put down his knife.
Trawick then walked away from the officers to turn off a radio in his apartment, according to the report, before facing the officers and again asking why they were in his home.
After Davis unsuccessfully asked Trawick to drop the knife, the other officer, Brendan Thompson, tased Trawick, knocking him to the ground.
Thompson dropped the taser to the ground, holstered his gun, and walked into the apartment, according to the report. Within seconds, however, Trawick got up and screamed at the officers. Thompson was unable to tase Trawick again because he had ditched his taser, so he proceeded to shoot Trawick four times with his gun. One of the shots struck Trawick in the heart, killing him nearly instantly, according to the report.
It does not appear police officers ever answered Trawick’s questions asking why they were in his apartment and there is no explanation as to why Thompson dropped his taser — which wound up being a key factor in the turn of events leading up to the deadly use of force.