Words: Steve Brown
New York Police is being urged to release body cam footage following the death of a dancer who was shot dead in his own home by police.
On April 14, Kawaski Trawick, a 32-year-old bisexual dancer, called the New York Fire Department claiming he had been locked out of his apartment while cooking on the hob.
When the emergency services attended, they let the dancer back into his home in Hill House – a supportive housing unit – but 10 minutes later police arrived at the house after calls that the dancer – who was part of the local ballroom scene – was banging on neighbour’s doors holding a knife.
After two officers reportedly spoke to him for less than two minutes before tasering him, The City reported.
Police told the publication that Trawick got up and charged at them with the knife and stick, causing one of the officers to fire his gun.
Trawick was shot four times to his chest and was pronounced dead.
Following his death, the police department have called for the release of more information about his death and many asking for the body cam footage to be released.
Jason Walker, an organiser with the HIV/Aids group Vocal NY, told Gay City News: “Kawaski Travick was a 32-year-old black gay man who loved to vogue and dance.
“He came to New York City looking for opportunity and he should be with us today. Instead he is dead.”
Carolyn Martinaz-Class, a spokesperson for the police watchdog group Communities United for Police reform, added: “Reports from the local community in the Bronx and those on the scene suggest Kawaski was not a threat to anyone when police arrived at his building.
“Instead he was in his room, possibly in a state of emotional distress. His death was preventable.
“In recent years, there have been far too many cases of emotionally distressed black New Yorkers and other people of colour dying at the hands of NYPD officers.”