Top NYPD chief Jeffrey Maddrey abused power when interfering in arrest of former colleague in Brooklyn, watchdog says

Chief of Department Jeffrey Maddrey at Brooklyn police shooting scene
Chief of Department Jeffrey Maddrey at the scene of the Brooklyn police shooting on April 13, 2023.
Photo by Lloyd Mitchell

The NYPD’s highest-ranking uniformed officer, Chief of Department Jeffrey Maddrey, abused his authority when he interfered in the 2021 arrest of a former colleague accused of menacing teenagers with a gun in Brooklyn, the police watchdog Civilian Complaint Review Board has determined.

The CCRB substantiated abuse of authority charges against Maddrey and recommended that he face “Command Discipline B,” carrying a maximum penalty of 10 docked vacation days, as first reported by news outlet The City. A spokesperson for the CCRB confirmed the authenticity of the charges against Maddrey when reached by amNewYork Metro.

“After carefully reviewing the evidence, the full board deliberated this case and substantiated misconduct against Chief Maddrey,” said CCRB interim chair Arva Rice in a statement. “We used the NYPD’s Disciplinary Matrix to determine the recommended discipline and it is now up to the Police Commissioner to hold Chief Maddrey accountable.”

An attorney for the teenagers, MK Kaishian, did not return an inquiry for comment.

Charging such a high-ranking official with official misconduct is exceedingly rare, speaking to the breadth of evidence against Maddrey. Final disciplinary authority rests with Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell, who has continued a longstanding trend of bucking CCRB recommendations in a majority of misconduct cases. Mayor Eric Adams has also publicly expressed the “utmost confidence” in Maddrey in light of the incident.

The NYPD declined to comment. City Hall spokesperson Fabien Levy referred this publication back to Adams’ previous comments expressing confidence in Maddrey, where Hizzoner opined the chief “handled it appropriately” and left the matter to internal NYPD review.

The charges stem from a November 2021 incident in Brownsville, Brooklyn, that led to the arrest of retired NYPD officer Kruythoff Forrester. Three local teenage boys — ages 12, 13, and 14 — said that Forrester chased them in the streets while brandishing a handgun after they damaged the security camera at his real estate office with a basketball. Forrester was arrested after all three boys gave the same description of the gun, and he was brought to the 73rd Precinct station house.

The former cop quickly started name-dropping Maddrey, who was once his commanding officer at the 73rd and by then had climbed the ranks to Chief of Community Affairs. Surveillance and body-cam videos published by The City show Maddrey himself soon arrived at the station house, and within 90 minutes of that, Forrester was released from custody, having spent less than an hour in a holding cell. After his release, Forrester and Maddrey can be seen on CCTV footage chumming it up in the precinct’s lobby.

NYPD Chief of Department Jeffrey Maddrey (left) testifies to the City Council next to Commissioner Sewell on March 20, 2023.Gerardo Romo, New York City Council Media Unit

Earlier this month, the three boys — Kyi-el, Brendan, and Kawun, whose last names were withheld for privacy since they’re minors — appeared on Hot 97 radio to discuss the incident, noting they feared for their life as they were allegedly chased by the gun-brandishing ex-cop.

“He chased us for seven minutes, it was the worst time of my life. I was scared,” Kyi-el told Hot 97’s Ebro Darden. “I thought I wouldn’t make it home to my mom, I was scared for my life.”

The boys are seeking the ouster of Chief Maddrey, said Victor Dempsey, a supporter of the family who also appeared on Hot 97, and whose own brother was killed by an off-duty NYPD officer who remains on the force seven years later. He charged that Maddrey had allowed the boys to be tarred as liars and criminals in the media and in the community after the incident, only to be vindicated months later when The City published its investigation.

Kyi-el, Brendan, and Kawun said it still feels as if no one believes them, and noted that Commissioner Sewell had never reached out to them.

“It feels like we’re by ourselves,” said Kyi-el. “It feels like nobody believes us.”

Kaishian, in a statement earlier this month, said the young men had been betrayed by institutions that are supposed to protect them.

“They were forced to run, hide, and create diversions for one another so they could make it home alive,” said Kaishian. “Though these young people told the truth that night to adults they believed would protect them, they were betrayed by the powerful and vilified in the media simply because their abuser was a cop.”

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.

Last month, 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.

This story has been updated with comment from the CCRB.