NYPD Brass Springs Ex-Cop After Arrest for Allegedly Chasing Brooklyn Kids With a Gun
Community Affairs Chief Jeffrey Maddrey intervened to void the case of a retired officer accused of pursuing three boys with a pistol after their basketball hit a security camera, sources say. “They were terrified,” says an aunt of two of the children.
A high-ranking NYPD chief ordered cops in a Brooklyn precinct to release a retired officer they had arrested only hours earlier for allegedly menacing three kids with a gun, according to law enforcement and other sources.
The unusual intervention in the arrest of the ex-cop last Wednesday was spearheaded by Community Affairs Bureau Chief Jeffrey Maddrey, who oversees the NYPD’s youth strategy and who formerly served as commander of the 73rd Precinct in Brownsville, the neighborhood where the incident happened, the sources said.
An investigation by the Civilian Complaint Review Board is underway and in its early stages, a CCRB spokesperson confirmed.
The children — ages 12, 13 and 14 — said the frightening incident was sparked after the basketball they were dribbling down Saratoga Avenue accidentally hit a security camera in front of a real estate storefront manned by retired cop Kruythoff Forrester.
Attempts to reach Forrester on Tuesday were unsuccessful.
The boys said Forrester, who records show also worked in the 73rd Precinct for part of his career before retiring last year, emerged from inside the store and started chasing them, at one point brandishing a silver-and-black gun.
One boy said he believed he heard the gun fire once, according to his family, while another told THE CITY he thought he heard three shots — but none of them saw Forrester pull the trigger.
NYPD officials say Forrester’s arrest was voided following an investigation, and that he had been found to be the victim of criminal mischief. They say video along the route where he pursued the boys shows he wasn’t carrying a gun in his hand.
They added that none of the boys reported to responding officers that any shots had been fired, and that a gunfire-detection system in the neighborhood didn’t register any shots.
“The individual who was detained is a retired police officer and a legally licensed pistol holder,” said Sgt. Edward Riley, an NYPD spokesperson. “He denied drawing or pointing his weapon during the incident.”
According to the law enforcement and other sources, Forrester was arrested in possession of a gun and was still being detained at the 73rd Precinct when Maddrey — a three-star chief who is one of the highest-ranking uniformed members of the NYPD — showed up and ordered that his arrest be voided.
Maddrey was accompanied by other NYPD members, including Deputy Chief Scott Henderson of Patrol Borough Brooklyn North, the law enforcement and other sources said.
Forrester, 53, was sprung shortly afterward, according to the sources, but word of his release didn’t reach the kids’ families until the next day.
“They’re kids. You know how traumatizing it is for you to be running for your life in the street from a grown-ass man because you broke a camera?” said two of the boys’ aunt, Lashawn Jordan.
“And then to say it’s perfectly OK to let the man off because he’s a fellow ex-officer?” she added. “So what is that saying — these kids’ lives don’t matter?”
‘Run, He Has a Gun!’
The night before Thanksgiving, the boys’ families were at home preparing for the next day’s feast as they waited for the youth to head home from playing basketball.
According to one child’s account, the trio was taking their usual route home from the park when one of them tossed a ball in the air. When it accidentally hit the security camera of the business where Forrester works, the kids got scared and bolted.
Eventually, they slowed to a walk. That’s when they heard Forrester yell out “Yo” behind them, one of the boys told THE CITY.
All three turned around.
“Then I seen the gun,” said the boy — whom THE CITY is not naming because he is a minor.
“Run! Run, he has a gun!” a boy screamed, according to video footage obtained by THE CITY from a nearby security camera.
Two of the kids hid. The third bolted further down the street. That’s when all three say they heard a shot ring out, according to interviews with the families.
“They were terrified,” said Jordan.
When her 12-year-old nephew reached her front door, he was “blue in the face.”
“He was sweating and panting and crying,” Jordan told THE CITY.
“He couldn’t even get the words out of his mouth to say that somebody was shooting at them until I kept shaking him, like, ‘Tell me what’s going on. Just say it. Where is everybody else?’ And he was like ‘A man, a man! They’re shooting at him, they’re running!’”
Just a few blocks away, his brother — who had evaded his alleged pursuer — called 911.
Police later found Forrester coming out of a side entrance to the building that houses the real estate storefront, according to the families, and they detained him after questioning him.
Family members said responding officers assured them they would soon be hearing from the Brooklyn district attorney’s office.
Meanwhile, the mother of the two brothers said the kids were “scared to death.”
“Mom, why would anybody shoot at us? We ain’t bad,” the 12-year-old asked his mom, she said.
Promoted by Commissioner
Maddrey was promoted to his three-star position in June 2020 by NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea.
His promotion came despite a high-profile incident in 2017 where the NYPD found that Maddrey had “wrongfully impeded an official department investigation,” among other charges.
His punishment was the loss of 45 vacation days that April.
The relatively stiff penalty was prompted by Maddrey’s failure to report that an NYPD subordinate who claimed to be his mistress had pulled a gun on him in a Queens park.
At the time, Maddrey denied an affair and told the New York Daily News that he had wanted to spare the woman from arrest for the sake of her kids.
As head of the Community Affairs Bureau, Maddrey is responsible not just for building a better relationship between the police and communities, but specifically emphasizing strategies to engage youth in order to keep them away from crime.
The Youth Strategies Division, according to a description posted online, “focuses on the well-being of the city’s young people.”
‘No Justice Here’
The alleged Thanksgiving-eve menacing, and the quick release of the retired cop, has left the two families in Brownsville asking about justice.
“I guess he’s a cop. So I guess they’re taking his side or trying to cover it up. I don’t know, but that’s not right,” said Crystal M., the mom of the 13-year-old. “It’s like there’s no justice here.”
She said her son has been reluctant to walk in the neighborhood since last week.
“My son feels unsafe, he don’t want to go outside,” she said. “I tell him to go to the store to get something. He don’t want to do that. Like, I’d be scared too.”
Jordan said she’s at a loss for what to do with her lifelong instructions to the boys that they should go to the police whenever they find themselves in danger.
“How are my children supposed to believe what I’m saying if I’m telling them that the police are going to protect them when it’s the police who are shooting at them?” she said.
Jordan said her family had done its best to have a normal Thanksgiving the next day, but that it had been a challenge to pretend everything was fine.
“We basically just was grateful that the bullets missed all the boys,” she said, “and we still were able to come together and be thankful for life itself, if nothing more.”