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Top Uniformed NYPD Officer Abused Authority in Brooklyn Gun Incident, Oversight Panel Finds

Civilian Complaint Review Board determined that Chief of Department Jeffrey Maddrey committed misconduct when he intervened in the 2021 arrest of a retired cop who had chased three boys in Brownsville.

April 18, 2023 Yoav Gonen, The City
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The Civilian Complaint Review Board has substantiated misconduct by the NYPD’s top uniformed officer, Chief of Department Jeffrey Maddrey, over his intervention in the release of a retired cop who’d been arrested after allegedly menacing three boys with a gun.

An attorney for the teenage boys, MK Kaishian, told THE CITY their families received notice on Friday that the CCRB had substantiated a single charge of abuse of authority against Maddrey, with a recommended penalty known as Command Discipline B — which comes with a maximum loss of 10 vacation days.

A CCRB spokesperson confirmed the outcome.

The action by the police oversight agency is a rare finding of wrongdoing by such a high-ranking police official.

Former CCRB Chair Richard Emery, who served during the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio, said he could recall no such prior instance. The board weighs in on misconduct that occurs primarily during police interactions with the public — unusual for most high-ranking NYPD members.

But there was nothing usual about Maddrey’s visit to the 73rd Precinct in Brownsville the night of Nov. 24, 2021, while he was serving as the NYPD’s chief of community affairs, according to current and former NYPD members.

As THE CITY documented last month in an investigation using body camera and surveillance video footage, Maddrey and a deputy chief showed up at Brooklyn’s 73rd Precinct while a retired former NYPD colleague of Maddrey’s was held under arrest there after a run-in with three boys who alleged the ex-cop had chased them with a gun.

Within hours, the retired officer was released, and the footage shows the two men shaking hands and conversing inside the precinct house lobby, with Maddrey smiling.

Kaishian said the boys, 15-year-old Kyi-el, his 13-year-old brother Brendan, and their 15-year-old cousin Kawun, and their families were “relieved and encouraged” by the outcome of the CCRB probe.

They had participated in a rally earlier in the week in Brooklyn and an interview on Hot 97 radio where they questioned the lack of support they’d been getting from public officials since the incident.

“Maddrey not only leveraged his power to spring a former colleague who had terrorized children with a gun, but he allowed those same children to be vilified and discredited in the media and by his allies in the aftermath of his misconduct,” said Kaishian.

The board’s letter says Maddrey’s disciplinary history was considered before making its recommended penalty. In 2017, he was penalized 45 vacation days for engaging in a physical altercation with a subordinate who claimed the two had been having an affair — and for impeding the investigation by the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau.

That incident also allegedly included a gun being drawn.

“After carefully reviewing the evidence, the full board deliberated this case and substantiated misconduct against Chief Maddrey,” said CCRB interim chair Arva Rice. “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.”

The matrix, which sets the presumed range of penalties for a host of violations, was adopted by the NYPD and CCRB under a joint agreement in early 2021 – although NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell has lowered penalties dozens of times and said she plans to change the matrix this year.

Additionally, Sewell has the power to unilaterally mete out any level of discipline she chooses in Maddrey’s case — ranging from termination to no penalty at all, although it’s uncommon for a commissioner to seek a penalty higher than the one sought by the CCRB.

Maddrey and the NYPD didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Adams: ‘Utmost Confidence’

Maddrey’s intervention was sparked by the Nov. 24, 2021 arrest of retired NYPD officer Kruythoff Forrester, after three boys told police that he had chased them for striking his storefront security camera with a basketball and had pointed a gun at one of them.

The boys accurately described what the gun looked like to police — silver with black on top — and police found a licensed silver and black gun holstered on Forrester’s right side, according to video evidence obtained from the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office through a public disclosure law request.

The matching descriptions of the gun and the boys’ accurate claims to police that Forrester had drawn the weapon from his right side led a sergeant at the 73rd Precinct to order Forrester’s arrest, body-worn camera footage shows.

It also shows that Forrester began dropping Maddrey’s name almost immediately after he was handcuffed — including asking police personnel at the precinct house to contact Maddrey on his behalf.

Brownsville teens Kyi-el, Brendan and Kawun rally at Brooklyn Borough with community members, demanding accountability for retired NYPD officer Kruythoff Forrester chasing them with a gun.
Brownsville teens Kyi-el, Brendan and Kawun rally at Brooklyn Borough with community members, demanding accountability for retired NYPD officer Kruythoff Forrester chasing them with a gun. | Ben Fractenberg/THE CITY

Maddrey had been Forrester’s supervisor years earlier at the 73 Precinct, and was serving as Chief of Community Affairs at the time of Forrester’s arrest.

In a move that both current and former NYPD members called highly unusual, Maddrey personally showed up at the precinct house after Forrester’s pleas, as did Brooklyn North Deputy Chief Scott Henderson.

Within 90 minutes of the two chiefs’ arrival, Forrester was sprung from the precinct by police and his arrest was voided.

A law enforcement source told THE CITY that Maddrey and Henderson had ordered that Forrester’s arrest be voided.

But an NYPD spokesperson at the time said the two chiefs had ordered an immediate investigation of Forrester’s pursuit of the kids, and that Forrester was released only after that probe had failed to corroborate the boys’ claims.

It’s unclear if Henderson was a target of the CCRB probe. His name wasn’t mentioned in the letter.

A probe by the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau found no misconduct by Maddrey or Henderson, according to police officials, while an investigation by Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez found no criminality.

More recently, Maddrey’s actions got the stamp of approval last month from Mayor Eric Adams, who in response to a question from THE CITY said on March 10 that Maddrey had acted “appropriately.”

“I have the utmost confidence in Chief Maddrey,” Adams added.

On Friday, mayoral spokesperson Fabien Levy referred THE CITY to those earlier comments when asked about the CCRB findings.

Earlier this week, Adams appeared at a press conference with Sewell and Maddrey where they unveiled a trio of high-tech gadgets that the NYPD is trying out — including the resurrection of a robot dog whose use by the police force was scrapped by the prior administration after public backlash.

Attempts by THE CITY to contact Forrester weren’t successful.

While investigations of high-ranking NYPD officials by the CCRB are rare, they’re not without precedent.

Former NYPD Chief of Department Terrance Monahan was facing more than 50 allegations of misconduct over numerous incidents during the spring 2020 protests where he was supervising or personally involved in police actions or use of force — most notably the crackdown on protesters in Mott Haven on June 4.

But he retired before those investigations could be completed by the CCRB, avoiding any potential discipline, and his hands-on approach to the role was an outlier — putting him in contact with the public in a way that many NYPD chiefs aren’t.

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