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Brownsville Kids Chased by Armed Ex-Cop March to City Hall, Pick Up First Support From NYC Pol

Public Advocate Jumaane Williams on Monday became the only elected official to validate the three boys’ claims that ex-cop Kruythoff Forrester chased them for seven minutes and pointed a gun at them in Nov. 2021.

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Brownsville teen Kyi-el, center, lead a march over the Brooklyn Bridge with community members, demanding accountability for a retired NYPD officer chasing him and two friends with a gun, April 10, 2023.

Ben Fractenberg/THE CITY

Nearly 18 months after three boys were chased by an ex-cop who allegedly pointed a gun at them but soon had his arrest voided by police brass, the kids got their first public demonstration of support — including from the only elected official to validate their concerns so far.

About 100 people — including roughly 30 members of the Brooklyn United Marching Band — walked on Monday afternoon from Brooklyn Borough Hall, over the Brooklyn Bridge, to a Lower Manhattan plaza next to City Hall to highlight the case of the three teens from Brownsville who claim former NYPD Officer Kruythoff Forrester menaced them with a gun on Nov. 24, 2021.

Among the crowd was Public Advocate Jumaane Williams — the first elected official to stand with the kids amid months of news articles on the incident, including THE CITY’s publication last month of revealing video that showed Forrester was released from a precinct cell less than 90 minutes after two NYPD chiefs arrived and intervened.

“I’m here to support these kids,” Williams said outside Brooklyn Borough Hall. “They were completely dismissed, even though they were telling the truth about what happened.”

Asked whether he was seeking accountability from the NYPD over the incident, Williams said he still needed to dig into the details of everything that transpired. But “there should be an acknowledgement that something happened that shouldn’t have,” he said.

Public Advocate Jumaane Williams speaks before a march over the Brooklyn Bridge in support of three Brownsville teens, right, April 10, 2023.

Ben Fractenberg/THE CITY

Other local politicians have stayed mum on the matter, while Mayor Eric Adams and a collection of Brooklyn clergy members have shown support publicly for the police decisions.

Before the march across the Brooklyn Bridge started, all three boys — Kyi-el and Kawun, both 15, and 13-year-old Brendan — said their relationship with police had changed significantly because of the incident. 

THE CITY is identifying the boys only by their first names at the request of their families.

“Every time I see them, I put my head down. It’s scary,” Kawun said of police. “I thought they were going to help us, but they’re not helping.”

Easy Out

On the day in question, Forrester was arrested by officers from the 73rd Precinct in Brownsville, Brooklyn after the kids told cops he chased them with a gun for disturbing his storefront — and they were able to accurately describe the licensed firearm he had on him.

Forrester began chasing the kids because they threw a basketball that struck one of his family’s storefront security cameras, something he told responding officers had happened previously. 

But the former officer was sprung from the precinct holding cell in less than 40 minutes, and his arrest was voided by top brass soon afterward.

Last month, THE CITY published an article with video compiled from a trove of footage obtained through public disclosure law from the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office, which shed new light on why cops arrested Forrester and the events that preceded his release.

The video confirmed that one of the two high ranking members who showed up at the precinct that night was then-Chief of Community Affairs Jeffrey Maddrey, who has since been promoted to the top uniformed NYPD post: chief of department. 

Years earlier, Maddrey had supervised Forrester when both men worked at the 73rd Precinct. Forester had asked officers to contact Maddrey on his behalf almost immediately after being handcuffed that night, the video shows. Another chief who rushed to the station was Scott Henderson, then the executive officer of Patrol Borough Brooklyn North.

Brooklyn United marching band led a march over the Brooklyn Bridge, from Brooklyn to Manhattan, to support the three teens chased by a retired NYPD officer with a gun, April 10, 2023.

Ben Fractenberg/THE CITY

Within days of the incident, an NYPD spokesperson told THE CITY that Maddrey and Henderson had ordered an immediate investigation, but that it couldn’t corroborate the kids’ claims that Forrester pointed his gun at them.

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

A probe within weeks by the NYPD Internal Affairs Bureau of Maddrey and Henderson found no misconduct, while an investigation by Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez soon afterward found no criminality during the incident or its aftermath.

An investigation by the Civilian Complaint Review Board is ongoing, a spokesperson said Monday. 

The families of the boys filed a civil lawsuit against Forrester last November. That case is still in its early stages.

‘It Feels Like We’re by Ourselves’

Earlier on Monday, the radio station Hot 97 played an interview that morning host Ebro Darden recently conducted with the kids.

In it, the kids and family advocate Victor Dempsey called for Maddrey to be terminated from the NYPD, and for state Attorney General Letitia James to conduct a probe of the incident and of Forrester’s release.

Kyi-el also said it had felt isolating to watch as people in power, including the mayor, took the side of the NYPD for nearly a year and a half.

“It feels like we’re by ourselves,” Kyi-el told Hot 97. “It feels like nobody believes us.”

By the conclusion of Monday’s  march, Kyi-el said the public show of support had meant a lot to him. 

“I’m really proud that all these people showed up. It was a great day,” he told THE CITY. “It made my day and everything.”

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