NYPD Reportedly Guns Down Black Man Who Was Struggling With Mental Health Issues

NEW YORK, USA - JUNE 28: Members of the New York City Police Department stand outside the headquarters of New York Times building in Manhattan after a shooting occured in a newspaper office in Annapolis, Maryland killing 5 people in New York, United States on June 28, 2018. NYPD deployed police forces to major media outlets after Annapolis Newspaper shooting. (Photo by Mohammed Elshamy/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

NYPD Reportedly Guns Down Black Man Who Was Struggling With Mental Health Issues

Kawaski Trawick was only 32 years old.

PUBLISHED ON : APRIL 27, 2019 / 01:35 PM

People have questions about the death of dance instructor Kawaski Trawick, He was shot once in the right upper chest and the upper left part of his back during a two-minute encounter with two police officers in his Morris Heights apartment in the Bronx, according to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

The Hill House building where Trawick lived is operated by Services for the Underserved, which helps “people with disabilities, people in poverty and people facing homelessness,” according to its website.

On April 14, 2019, the 32-year-old, Trawick, was locked out of his apartment at 1616 Grand Ave. He called the Fire Department for help because he apparently had food cooking on the stove.

However, the building’s superintendent and security guard also called dialed 911 reporting that Trawick was harassing people in the building and banging on apartment doors.

Firefighters arrived and left after breaking open Trawick’s door. Following up seven minutes later, two police officers arrived to find Trawick allegedly wielding a knife and a stick.

According to the New York Police Department (NYPD), the officers tasered Trawick and when he supposedly threatened to charge at them, one of the officers shot two of the four deadly bullets. Trawick was pronounced dead at Bronx Lebanon Hospital at 11:46 p.m.

The Bronx District Attorney Office’s Public Integrity Bureau “is still investigating” the shooting, a spokesperson confirmed to THE CITY on Friday.

State Assemblyman Dan Quart (D-Manhattan) and  Public Advocate Jumaane Williams called for the immediate release of the body camera footage.

“Transparency is a powerful tool, and it is clear to me that we need full transparency regarding this incident,” Williams tells THE CITY. “In so many instances, there is an opacity which only worsens the situation and obscures answers. I will be exercising the power of the Office of Public Advocate to request and review footage to more fully understand what transpired.”

The NYPD has yet to release the hallway video that includes the Fire Department helping Trawick back into his apartment and the NYC’s Human Resource Administration has a “confidential incident report” from the nonprofit it contracts to runs the building. The administration argues that Social Services law prevents them from doing so.

Both officers, whose names were not released, remained on active duty as of Friday, according to the NYPD.

Trawick’s father questioned why the four shots were fired. “You can shoot a man anywhere, one shot’s gonna bring a man down,” Ricky Trawick, a Georgia-based truck driver, said in a phone interview with THE CITY Tuesday.

Trawick’s father, who is a truck driver, wants answers about his son’s shooting. “They could have handled it in a little different way,” he said.

Written by Tweety Elitou

(Photo: Mohammed Elshamy/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

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