The NYPD said the killing of Kawaski Trawick ‘appears to be justified.’ Video shows officers escalated the situation.

Footage shows the killing of the 32-year-old Black man in his home by a white officer—over the objections of his Black, more-experienced partner. Both officers are still on duty.


Kawaski Trawick was shot and killed in his Bronx apartment by a New York Police Department officer on April 14, 2019. The NYPD said Trawick had charged at officers with a knife. Video of the shooting shows the officers had escalated the situation — and that one officer then shot Trawick over his more-experienced partner’s objections.

While the NYPD has never released video of the shooting, the Bronx District Attorney’s Office released footage of it last month, along with a detailed report. ProPublica separately obtained parts of the videos.

Our analysis of the footage found:

  • The officers failed to use techniques from NYPD’s crisis intervention training program to de-escalate the confrontation with Trawick.
  • The more-experienced officer, Herbert Davis, who is Black, repeatedly told his partner, Brendan Thompson, who is white, not to use force against Trawick.
  • Thompson nonetheless opened fire on Trawick, first with a Taser and then with a gun, killing Trawick.

The NYPD has declined to answer our questions about what happened, citing its investigation, which is pending review by top officers.

Read our story on the killing of Trawick and how it reflects years of failure by the NYPD.

Maya Eliahou and Mollie Simon contributed reporting.


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