Foreign Policy

“Why are you in my house?” The noise complaint ends with the black man dead after battling the mental health crisis

(WARNING: This video contains violent footage of the footage that may not be suitable for younger readers and difficult for other viewers to view.)


NYPD said the killing of Kawaski Trawick was justified.

The Truth: A white cop killed Trawick after the cop’s more experienced (& black) partner repeatedly tried to stop him.

– Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) December 9, 2020

The encounter began, like many, with a noise complaint from a Trawick neighbor. Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark said in a 42-page investigative report the neighbor called building security. A security officer told Trawick over an intercom “to keep the noise down because his neighbors were complaining”. Trawick refused and left the building eight minutes later with a large stick. When the officers arrived he was holding a serrated kitchen knife and cooking, Trawick said.

Police chief Terence Monahan said at a press conference the day after the shooting that officials had repeatedly asked Trawick to drop the guns, but he did not. Thompson even shocked Trawick with a taser, and even though he fell to the ground, he didn’t stay down, Monahan said. “When the officers went into the apartment to disarm the suspect and take him into custody, he suddenly jumped up and attacked the officers from close range – still with the knife and stick in his hands, “said Monahan in prepared remarks . “The officers left the apartment, but the suspect still walked quickly towards them.

“At that point, one of the officers released his service weapon four times on the suspect’s instructions and hit him in the chest.”

The video The New York Police Department (NYPD) was released nearly 20 months after the film was edited and contains footage from Thompson Body camera, Video for building surveillance, 911 audio, evidence photos, and a videotaped explanation of the department’s investigation process. The footage shows Trawick walking through the halls of Hill House, a supportive community for those struggling with addiction, mental health and other issues. He wore boxers, calf-high boots, and a long black vest as he roamed the halls of the building. Sometimes he would knock on doors, tap them with the stick, raise his arms and talk.

(WARNING: This video contains violent footage of the footage that may not be suitable for younger readers and difficult for other viewers to view.)

Police said several people called 911 to report that Trawick appeared to be “drunk” and “gone mad”. A building security guard said on 911 Audio, “I have a tenant in the building harassing tenants and supers.” She described Trawick as “short” and “bald” and gave a description of what he was wearing. She also said he knocked on the super’s door in the basement. Trawick, who called 911 minutes after the watch, told authorities he was locked out of his apartment, that someone tried to attack him, and that there was a fire that threatened his life. “If you don’t hurry, we’ll burn down,” he was heard saying on 911 Audio.

Another surveillance video released by prosecutors on November 17 shows firefighters arriving and departing shortly after determining that there has been no fire. By the time Thompson and cop Herbert Davis, a black man, arrived around 11 p.m. Trawick was at his fourth floor apartment. There was a 30-second buffer in Thompson’s body camera video that did not receive any audio, police said. Davis, a nearly 16-year veteran with the department, did not wear a body camera, according to police. When he knocked on Trawick’s door, Davis pushed the door open and can be seen in the building surveillance video where he takes out his baton. Thompson, who has been on the field for about three years, aimed his taser at Trawick from outside Trawick’s apartment. The video doesn’t show that Trawick ever consented to officers entering his apartment. Her interaction with Trawick took place at his door.

When the audio is recorded on Thompson’s body camera video, Trawick is heard asking, “Why are you in my house?” Officers did not answer his question. Trawick wore his boxers and boots and held the knife while Thompson continued to aim at his taser, which aimed a small red laser light at the tenant. When Trawick turned his back on the officers to turn down his music, he returned with the knife and stick in hand. “Put it down,” ordered Davis. “We’re not going to berate him,” he said to Thompson, who noticed Trawick’s knife within seconds. “Oh, he has a knife,” said Thompson.

When Trawick heard the observation, he said, “I have a knife because I cook.” He did not follow the officers’ repeated instructions to “drop the knife,” and the officers did not answer his repeated question of why they were there because the fire department had come and gone. At one point, Trawick mumbled to himself and pointed at his head, and Thompson shocked Trawick with the taser. The video showed him falling and later jumping up, grabbing the stick and screaming: “I will kill you all! Go out!” He ran away from the officers and then back to them. And instead of firing his taser again, Thompson fired his gun four times at Trawick and shot him twice, police said. Thompson asked for an ambulance and Trawick was taken to the Bronx Lebanon Hospital, where he died of his injuries, police said.

Both NYPD officers received de-escalation training and learn to “isolate and contain” people during mental health emergencies, according to the department’s guidelines. District Attorney Clark said in a press release that prosecutors found “no crime” in Trawick’s death, but changes are still needed. “We have yet another death that painfully demonstrates that changes are needed in responding to people in mental crisis and that we as a community must do better to provide adequate support to residents of supportive housing in the city,” said Clark . “Treatment and services need to be available to prevent people from reaching a point where they can harm themselves or others.

“I continue to encourage a productive conversation about how calls can be better addressed to help people in crisis avoid escalation that leads to death.”

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