NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell has served one of her highest-ranking employees, Chief of Department Jeffrey Maddrey, with disciplinary charges for abusing his authority in voiding the arrest of a former colleague, but the department’s highest-ranking uniformed officer says he will contest the charges in an internal disciplinary trial.
The New York Post first reported Wednesday that Maddrey was served with a formal reprimand and a notice that he would be penalized up to ten vacation days for his 2021 decision to interfere in the arrest of a former underling, Kruythoff Forrester, in Brownsville, Brooklyn. The Civilian Complaint Review Board, a police department watchdog, last month substantiated abuse of authority charges against Maddrey and recommended that be reprimanded.
Maddrey intends to contest the charges in an internal departmental disciplinary trial, where he will be prosecuted by CCRB attorneys, but the final authority to reprimand him still rests with Sewell.
An NYPD spokesperson said that the department doesn’t comment on internal disciplinary matters.
Such a high-ranking officer facing formal rebuke at all is a striking circumstance for a police department where disciplinary recommendations by the watchdog are routinely ignored and outside accountability is frequently treated as an affront, speaking to the breadth of evidence and severity of the charges being faced by Maddrey.
Forrester was arrested in November of 2021 for menacing three teenage boys, ages 12-14, with a gun after they allegedly broke his office’s security camera with a basketball. All three boys gave matching aesthetic descriptions of the gun Forrester was wielding, leading officers on scene to cuff the retired lawman.
At the 73rd Precinct, Forrester insisted officers phone Maddrey, who personally arrived at the stationhouse late at night and ordered Forrester’s arrest voided after the retired cop had spent less than an hour in a holding cell. Security camera footage published by The City shows Forrester leaving the precinct and encountering Maddrey in the lobby, where the two appear to chum it up. Maddrey, who was Chief of Community Affairs at the time, had previously been Forrester’s commanding officer at the 73rd Precinct.
Forrester has denied that he pulled a gun on the kids, the Post reported, and the Brooklyn District Attorney determined he hadn’t committed a crime. Maddrey’s lawyer, Lambros Y. Lambrou, did not respond to a request for comment.
In its report on the incident, the CCRB noted that Maddrey not only sought to void Forrester’s arrest, but even suggested that the three boys be cuffed instead for vandalizing the security camera. The boys have said that was an accident.
The three boys have called for Maddrey to be fired. In an interview on Hot 97 radio last month, they said that they were in fear for their lives during the incident, and were also dispirited when so many people in power had dismissed them and their trauma.
“The boys and their families are apprehensive but relieved the CCRB’s recommendation to impose discipline has been followed,” said MK Kaishian, the boys’ lawyer, in a statement. “The Chief’s decision to contest this light punishment is certainly his prerogative, but it is telling when, and against whom, he and his powerful allies decide to call for so-called due process or accountability.”
“Whether or not the Chief ultimately faces discipline, it’s also critical that we recognize his conduct as a systemic rather than isolated incident,” Kaishian continued. “The City needs to drastically shift the balance of power and resources toward communities and away from the NYPD.”
Maddrey has powerful defenders, like Mayor Eric Adams, who has said he’s “proud” to have him as chief and previously opined that the chief had handled the situation “appropriately.” Spokespersons for City Hall did not respond to a request for comment. The CCRB also did not return an inquiry by press time.
Despite steadily rising to the NYPD’s highest ranks, Maddrey is no stranger to controversy. A former subordinate, Tabatha Foster, claimed to have had an affair driven by Maddrey’s advances and her fear of retaliation by a higher-up. After she retired in 2015, she said the two met at a Queens park where he hit and shoved her, after which she briefly pointed a gun at him.
Maddrey was docked 45 vacation days by the NYPD for the incident, with investigators saying he had improperly interfered with the probe.
In March, Maddrey raised eyebrows at a City Council budget hearing when he said that police park their cars on sidewalks outside precincts simply because there is nowhere else to park.