Trigger Warning: mentions of fatal police violence
Many of us breathed a sigh of relief Tuesday when Derek Chauvin was convicted of all charges for the killing of Goerge Floyd. For some of us, the verdict comes with the hope that perhaps this signals a move forward in our collective work to hold law enforcement accountable for the deadly violence they perpetrate against Black and brown people. But even with our relief, we know there is so much more work to do to fully address and end police violence.
Tuesday, a ProPublica article revealed that after an internal investigation, the NYPD found “no wrongdoing” in the killing of Kawaski Trawick, a 32-year-old queer Black man who was shot and killed by NYPD in his own home on April 14th, 2019. On that day, Kawaski had likely experienced a mental health crisis after being locked out of his apartment. Police arrived on the scene after Kawaski had already been assisted by firefighters, and had safely and quietly returned to his apartment, where he was cooking. Instead of realizing there was no longer a disturbance or threat, police officers Brendan Thompson and Herbert Davis broke the chain to Kawaski’s front door, and after finding him at his stove with a knife, tased, then shot and killed Kawski–all within 112 seconds of their arrival on the scene. For two years, there has been no accountability for Kawaski’s shooting from the NYPD. Neither of the officers have been disciplined, and the Bronx District Attorney has refused to prosecute.
Even as we breathe a brief sigh of relief after the verdict in the murder of George Floyd, we continue demanding accountability for Kawaski Trawick and all of the other victims of deadly police violence in our city and across the country. As an organization that centers LGBTQ and HIV-affected communities and aims to end all forms of violence and as a member of Communities United for Police Reform, we stand with our partners and Kawaski’s family in calling on the Civilian Complaint Review Board to hold a disciplinary trial. We demand accountability from Mayor DeBlasio and the firing of the officers involved in Kawaski’s shooting. AVP and our partners will not stop on until we are all safe and free.