What Jeff Maddrey deserves for improperly throwing his weight around to aid a pal
NYPD Chief of Department Jeff Maddrey made a serious, consequential error in 2021 when, then chief of community affairs, he swooped into the Brownsville precinct house and told police to let a former colleague go. Commissioner Keechant Sewell should discipline him. Rather than taking his lumps, Maddrey is fighting any rap on the knuckles and forcing an administrative trial. That sets a terrible example for the officers he leads and the city he serves.
For those unfamiliar with what transpired on the evening of Nov. 24, 2021, a quick recap based on deep-dive reporting by The City: Three boys, aged 12, 13 and 14, were walking down the sidewalk when one threw his basketball at the security camera outside retired officer Kruythoff Forrester’s building, damaging it. Out came a livid and armed Forrester, who chased the kids through the neighborhood. The youngsters said he flashed his gun and could describe it accurately. Forrester said the licensed weapon stayed holstered, and he was just trying to tell the kids to stop.
Cops brought Forrester into the 73rd precinct for allegedly menacing the three with a firearm — but they released him less than three hours later. That’s because after Forrester invoked Maddrey’s name, Maddrey and another high-ranking official visited and pressured their underlings. Maddrey first said he only told police to follow the evidence; an investigation by the Civilian Complaint Review Board revealed that he effectively ordered the lower-ranking cops to let Forrester go. Bad.
In March, Mayor Adams — reflexively backing someone he trusts rather than following the facts — said, “I think he handled it appropriately and there’s internal reviews that are done to make that determination.” (In April, Adams added, “In no way am I interfering with the process.”)
Sewell, who reports to the mayor, deserves credit: She’s saying that even well-connected police brass have to pay a price when they do wrong. The city should be more upset by how small a price it is than by the fact that Maddrey is paying it.