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New York Police Name a Chief Who Has Faced Internal Discipline

The head of the New York City Police Department on Wednesday named a chief to the agency’s highest uniformed rank despite past disciplinary charges and drawn-out litigation dating back years.

Jeffrey Maddrey was named the acting chief of department, according to a law enforcement official and an internal memo obtained by The New York Times. He will replace Kenneth Corey, who retired on Tuesday.

Chief Maddrey, who will rank behind only the commissioner and first deputy commissioner, rose through the force over three decades. He most recently headed the patrol services bureau — the Police Department’s largest and the one that most directly affects the lives of New Yorkers. As chief of patrol, he was responsible for eight-borough commands, which include all 77 precincts across the city.

But his appointment raises questions over the perception of a Police Department that has struggled to regain trust after clashes with protesters following the death of George Floyd in 2020 and a vigorous debate over police violence.

Chief Maddrey is the subject in a civil case that stems from harassment allegations filed in 2016 by a former subordinate, according to records in Manhattan Supreme Court. Chief Maddrey has denied the allegations, and though he faced internal discipline, a federal suit against him failed. He also was criticized last year for ordering the release of a retired police officer accused of using his gun to menace children.

Yet that part of his record likely had little bearing on whether he would be appointed, said Keith Taylor, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and a former detective sergeant at the Police Department. Other factors, including how effectively leaders can traverse the politically charged landscape of city law enforcement, also come into play, he said.

“The issue of scandals, and ongoing legal and civil challenges, those are just a matter of doing business. It’s the process of the world they live in,” Mr. Taylor said.

“I would imagine that the commissioner’s office has already considered — strongly — the negative blowback from such appointments, and have still decided that this is the best way to go,” he added.

Chief Maddrey’s troubles began in 2016, when Tabatha Foster, a former officer, initially sued him.

Ms. Foster had accused Chief Maddrey, then an inspector in the 75th Precinct in Brooklyn, of making persistent sexual advances, according to court records. She said that, given his position, she had no choice but to acquiesce.

In December 2015, about four months after she retired, Ms. Foster said she met Chief Maddrey at a park in Queens, where he slapped, punched and pushed her to the ground, according to court records filed by her lawyer, Matthew Blit. Ms. Foster said she then pointed her gun at Chief Maddrey before he tore it away and tossed it into the back seat of her vehicle. Police officers arrived shortly after, and the chief ordered them to leave, according to the records.

Chief Maddrey was docked 45 vacation days as a result of the incident.

Ms. Foster’s claims were dismissed by a federal court judge in June 2019. Chief Maddrey’s lawyer, Lambros Y. Lambrou, recently filed a motion to have the case in Manhattan Supreme Court dismissed.

“Having represented the chief for all of this time, as far as his qualifications and abilities, I don’t know anyone who is better suited for this position. No one should be defined by one silly situation,” Mr. Lambrou said.

“We fully expect that this last chapter of this bad novel to be dismissed,” he added. “We’re very hopeful that this will all be in the rearview mirror very soon.”

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