Report: First female NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell steps down

June 13, 2023 Rob Abruzzese
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In a seismic shift in the New York City Police Department (NYPD), Commissioner Keechant Sewell announced her resignation on Monday, marking another high-profile departure under the administration of Mayor Eric Adams. The announcement came after reports of escalating interference from City Hall on NYPD matters, notably an incident involving a high-ranking NYPD chief with close ties to the mayor.

Sewell, the first female police commissioner in the NYPD’s history, sent an email informing the members of her department of her decision, set to come into effect by the end of June.

“I have made the decision to step down from my position,” Sewell wrote in the email, obtained by THE CITY. “While my time here will come to a close, I will never step away from my advocacy and support for the NYPD, and I will always be a champion for the people of New York City.”

Her resignation comes days after it was reported that City Hall was increasingly intervening in her decisions, particularly a recent move to discipline NYPD Chief Jeffrey Maddrey. Sewell had proposed a penalty for Maddrey after the Civilian Complaint Review Board found him guilty of abusing his authority by overturning the arrest of a retired cop.

Maddrey’s misconduct case, involving an incident where he allegedly voided the arrest of ex-cop Kruythoff Forrester, who was accused of menacing three boys with a gun, is headed for an internal trial.

Mayor Adams has maintained his support for Maddrey, stating on multiple occasions that he believed Maddrey acted appropriately in his decision to void the arrest. Sewell’s proposed penalty for Maddrey aligned with the discipline recommended by the CCRB but seemed to defy Adams’ stance.

Following the news of Sewell’s resignation, Adams released a statement expressing his gratitude for her service. “New Yorkers owe her a debt of gratitude,” he declared, before addressing allegations of mayoral intervention in department matters at an unrelated press conference. The Mayor insisted that every city agency proposes its leadership to him but denied making decisions for the Commissioner.

Sewell’s tenure as the first woman police commissioner was deemed ‘historic’ by Adams when he announced her appointment in December 2021. However, her resignation follows a series of high-level exits from City Hall during Adams’s second year in office, signaling an ongoing shift in city leadership.

Sewell’s role as a pioneer and role model has been acknowledged by her peers, with City Councilmember Kamillah Hanks stating, “As the first Black woman police commissioner, she is a trendsetter and role model to many.”

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