NYPD commissioner Caban didn’t explain decision to clear 2 cops in Kawasaki Trawick fatal shooting, records say

NEW YORK — Police Commissioner Edward Caban didn’t explain his decision to clear two Bronx cops for their roles in the shooting death of Kawaski Trawick, a mentally ill man who rushed them while armed with a knife, records show.

Documents recently posted on the NYPD website represent the final chapter in the administrative prosecution of Officer Brendan Thompson and Officer Herbert Davis by the Civilian Complaint Review Board, which had accused the partners of setting in motion the fatal 2019 confrontation with Trawick.

Trawick, 32, was cooking and had a kitchen knife in his hand on April 14, 2019 when police showed up to question him about earlier 911 calls describing him as acting erratically and banging on neighbors’ doors.

Thompson, over Davis’ objections, zapped Trawick with a Taser, police body-worn camera video showed. Trawick fell to the floor, then got back up and rushed the officers, knife in hand, at which point Thompson shot him.

The officers in 2020 were cleared of criminal wrongdoing. But the CCRB charged Thompson with unlawful entry and using excessive force. Davis was charged with trespassing and failure to render aid.

After the trial at One Police Plaza, NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Trials Rosemary Maldonado recommended the officers be found not guilty.

Central to the trial was a higher evidence threshold that was in place because, Maldonado said, the CCRB had missed the deadline to file charges against the two officers.

But Maldonado took issue with how the NYPD conducted its internal review of the incident.

And she criticized how Thompson handled the situation — using his Taser and gun over the objections of Davis, who three times tried to prevent Thompson from using such force, once by pushing his firearm down.

“It is critical to underscore that the guiding principle of NYPD’s Force guideline is the preservation of human life …” Maldonado wrote in her recommendation to Caban. “The stark contrast between [Davis’] approach and that of [Thompson] casts a troubling shadow on the the latter’s course of action and whether he complied with these department procedures.”

Caban stamped “APPROVED” on Maldonado’s recommendation and signed it, but he did not comment on her criticisms.

The NYPD would not make Caban available for an interview.

Royce Russell, who represents Trawick’s parents in a state lawsuit filed against the NYPD, said that had Caban, like Maldonado, criticized Thompson he would have sent a clear message that the department is serious about punishing officers who use excessive force.

“The commissioner’s decision supports the reality that police officers Davis’ and Thompson’s respective actions or failures to act constituted Patrol Guide violations,” Russell said.

The CCRB had no comment.

Davis retired in March.