‘Nobody Believes Us’: 3 Brooklyn Teens Say Retired NYPD Officer Chased, Fired Gun at Them After One Boy Hit Surveillance Camera with Basketball; Chief Releases Cop Minutes After Arrest
Three teenage boys are speaking out following their encounter with a retired NYPD police officer who chased them in New York City for several minutes, allegedly with his gun drawn.
On Nov. 24, 2021, three boys named Kawun, Kyi-el and Brendan — who were between the ages of 12 and 14 — were playing with a basketball on Saratoga Avenue as they walked past a real estate business in Brooklyn. One of the boys hit a surveillance camera for the business with the basketball before running away down Pacific Street.
Retired NYPD officer Kruythoff Forrester’s family owns the business and chased the boys for several blocks and allegedly drew his gun on them. A video of part of the chase shows one of the teens yelling, “He’s got a gun, B.J.!”
Forrester was arrested and taken to jail at the 73rd Precinct. However, he was released after spending just 38 minutes in his jail cell once NYPD Chief Jeffrey Maddrey came to the precinct. Forrester is heard asking for Maddrey on video from the precinct twice before another officer reminded him that the cameras were recording. Maddrey was the NYPD chief of community affairs at the time of Forrester’s arrest.
“The cameras are on. Recording. All right?”
“Oh, sorry. Sorry. OK,” replied Forrester. He is later given a cellphone while in his cell.
Kyi-el, now 15, his little brother, 13-year-old Brendan, and their 15-year-old cousin, Kawun, appeared shy when they spoke with Ebro Darden from HOT 97 radio on April 6 about being chased by Forrester
“It was the worst time of my life,” said Kyi-el. “I thought I wouldn’t make it home to my mom. I was scared for my life.”
The teenager added that he ran to a friend’s house and saw Forrester standing outside waiting for him.
“I was trying to go to my ex-girlfriend’s house after the incident because I was trying to get off the street,” he said. “And he was standing across the street staring at me with his hands in his pocket like he was waiting for me.”
Family advocate Victor Dempsey was also interviewed with the boys. Dempsy’s brother Delrawn Small was killed by an off-duty police officer in 2016 during a road-rage incident. Dempsy noted that one of the boys had to hide in a stairwell to get away from Forrester and ran in a zig-zag pattern while trying to get away because he was afraid of being shot.
No charges were pressed against Forrester, and Brendan said that they were scared to go outside after learning that Forrester was released from jail.
“All we heard was that he was out and we tried to stay in the house more to get away from him or his block with his store.”
Kawun added that he tried to stay calm after the terrifying incident by staying with his grandmother.
“At first, I stayed calm by staying at my grandma’s house first,” said Kawun. “That’s it.”
Dempsey said that the kids now go out of their way to go to the basketball court to avoid Forrester. He also said that they want State Attorney General Letitia James to conduct an investigation and for Maddrey to be fired.
“These young men were hiding. Let’s be clear about that — they were hiding in their own communities because of the fear that this guy might do something again,” added Dempsey. “Because of the fear that their voices are being suppressed and nobody’s listening to them.”
Forrester claimed that he was the victim and denied ever drawing his weapon on the three boys. However, the three boys all correctly described Forrester’s weapon, a 9mm handgun to NYPD officers. When asked what the gun looked like in separate interviews, one of the teens answered, “It was black with a little bit of silver.” The other two also recalled the gun being black and silver.
A spokesperson for the NYPD, Sgt. Edward Riley, said Forrester was released because they could not verify he drew his weapon and claimed that video surveillance did not capture Forrester with his weapon drawn.
“The individual who was detained is a retired police officer and a legally licensed pistol holder,” said Riley. “He denied drawing or pointing his weapon during the incident.”
“They ordered investigators, whose very job is to uncover misconduct, to look further into the incident and found that the facts relayed by the teenagers were contradicted by the retired officer and could not be verified by the video, shot-spotter, or any other witness,” Riley later said. “Based on that, the arrest was voided and the retired officer was released.”
Mayor Eric Adams also showed support for Forrester, as did a group of local clergy members. The three teenagers told Darden that it made them feel like nobody believed them. Dempsey claims that the NYPD is covering up the incident.
“It feels like we’re by ourselves,” said Kyi-el. “It feels like nobody believes us.”
“They want Chief Maddrey fired,” added Dempsey. “He intervened.”