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Jeffrey Maddrey’s hands-on protégé has ascended the NYPD’s ranks and is now Eric Adams’s NYPD liaison and drone champion—despite Daughtry’s long record of alleged misconduct.
- Auxiliary police officer
- NYPD detective
- ‘True Blue: NYPD’s Finest’ star
- NYPD assistant commissioner
- NYPD City Hall liaison
What does it take to jump ranks as an NYPD officer? For Kaz Daughtry, who was promoted in July from detective to a top civilian position as an assistant commissioner, it was a record of “boots on the ground” policing and a few very good friends—friends who wouldn’t be nearly as helpful or powerful if they weren’t some of Mayor Eric Adams’s closest allies in the police department.
Daughtry, like Adams, has his own mythology—one that involves being singled out as a teen on a Queens basketball court and guided to NYPD’s upper echelon. Daughtry has said in multiple interviews that Jeffrey Maddrey, then just a regular cop, took Daughtry under his wing when the younger man was enrolled in the NYPD Explorers program. “When I think of my childhood, I think of walking to the basketball court and looking at the floor and seeing the little vials of crack, like they had blue tops, red tops, yellow tops,” he told the New York Post. “But my mother felt comfortable knowing that Officer Maddrey was out there when I was out there.”
When recounting the way Maddrey guided him onto the force (his first assignment when he joined the NYPD in 2006 was at Maddrey’s precinct in Brooklyn, reportedly at Maddrey’s insistence), Daughtry makes sure to emphasize that he was no teacher’s pet. “There were no free rides there. I felt that [Maddrey] was harder on me than the other officers because he knew me,” Daughtry told amNY.
The relationship between Maddrey and Daughtry remained close—very close—when Daughtry became Maddrey’s driver. When former cop Tabatha Foster sued Maddrey for $100 million in federal court for allegedly demanding sexual favors from her while they were NYPD colleagues, as well as for allegedly beating her during an argument, Daughtry’s name came up repeatedly in the complaint. Foster said Daughtry began driving Maddrey to and from their trysts in 2012, waiting in the car and monitoring the radio while his mentor got busy in hotel rooms and in Foster’s residence. Maddrey denied Daughtry’s involvement in the affair, and the lawsuit was eventually dismissed. The NYPD did not respond to a request for comment about these allegations and has not responded to any requests for comment regarding Daughtry’s career at the NYPD.
So, what’s Daughtry like in action when he’s not behind the wheel? You can see him (often sandwiched between Maddrey and Chief of Patrol John Chell) at work in a “COPS”-knockoff produced this year by the NYPD called “True Blue: NYPD’s Finest.” The two-episode “series”—punctuated with schlocky transitions, a not-so-subtle undercurrent of anti-bail reform sentiment, and shitty graphics—purports to showcase what the NYPD’s Community Response Team, a street crimes unit created by Chell in 2022, experiences every day.
In an extended sequence in the first episode of “True Blue,” then-Detective Daughtry and another cop confirm that they’ve located a car belonging to a driver they’ve been searching for, based on a social media post—something he appears to relish. “Maybe they’ll stop doing it in New York when they see that we’re not giving you no tickets, we’re not giving you a summons, we’re not giving you warnings,” he says. Instead, Daughtry continues, the unit simply files a report, flags the car’s plates, and takes the vehicle when they find it. “So, let him put that on Instagram,” he says, chuckling.
Daughtry’s off-camera misconduct record is less of a laughing matter. In 2007, Daughtry arrested a man named Anthony McCrae for illegal possession of a firearm after observing McCrae making what he deemed a suspicious hand gesture. A federal judge later tossed the charge out after Daughtry testified in court that he and his partner had stopped 30 to 50 people in a three-day period for making similarly suspicious gestures, and McCrae was the only one who actually had a gun on him. As a result of the ruling, the Brooklyn district attorney’s office asked the NYPD to reassign Daughtry to a unit where he’d make fewer arrests—a request the department complied with.
Daughtry racked up a total of 51 allegations of misconduct—and four substantiated claims—reviewed by the CCRB for 18 different incidents spanning August 2006 until this past April. In 2008, he lost 10 vacation days when the CCRB substantiated a claim that Daughtry pulled a gun on a motorcyclist and threatened to kill him the summer before; in 2019, he lost 20 vacation days for lying to CCRB officials during an investigation into an arrest Daughtry participated in at a community event in Brownsville. Daughtry was also accused multiple times of roughing up protestors, using his nightstick as a club, and employing physical force over the years, but those claims were either exonerated by the CCRB, found to be unsubstantiated, or, in 12 cases, dropped because the complainant or victim was uncooperative. His most recent CCRB allegation—that he hit a man with his NYPD vehicle during an ATV crackdown in April 2023—was closed pending legal action by the complainant against the NYPD.
But none of these allegations, substantiated or otherwise, were enough to keep Daughtry from serving as the NYPD’s City Hall liaison since Adams entered office, or from rapidly ascending to a top civilian position in the NYPD last July. He was promoted to NYPD assistant commissioner on the heels of a report that he, not then-Commissioner Keechant Sewell, was “literally running” the NYPD—giving orders to cops who outranked him and circumventing Sewell’s authority thanks to his continued proximity to Maddrey, whom the Post also reported to be one of the real leaders of the NYPD during Sewell’s tenure. Daughtry denied those rumors. “The mayor runs the city, the police commissioner runs the police department—so that’s that,” Daughtry told the New York Post.
During his time as assistant commissioner, Daughtry has continued to stick by Maddrey’s side. He’s currently the chief of department’s head of staff, and the two frequently appear together, often with Chell, at events like a public safety town hall hosted by state Assemblymember Jenifer Rajkumar in September.
But his signature project as a civilian NYPD leader has been pioneering drones as a catch-all solution for NYPD surveillance needs. It’s an initiative that’s more than tripled the number of drones deployed by the NYPD from 2022 to 2023. Daughtry accompanied Adams on a trip to Israel in August, where the mayor praised the drone technology the two saw on a tour of the country’s National Police Academy. A week later, Daughtry announced at a press conference that the NYPD would be using drones to police Labor Day weekend and J’Ouvert celebrations—a move critics slammed as illegal, invasive and “racialized.”
That criticism failed to dampen his enthusiasm for the technology. Daughtry gave an interview about the police response to pro-Palestine rallies on WABC’s “Sid & Friends In The Morning” alongside Chell in October, where neither NYPD official disputed the narrative pushed by host Sid Rosenberg about an impending “terrorist” threat to New York City. Instead, Daughtry touted the benefits of drones in protest policing. “When a protest turns violent like we saw a couple days ago in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, with groups engaging in fights, obstructing traffic, the technology becomes extremely useful. It allows us to effectively manage the crowd size and it enables law enforcement officials like Chief Chell…to make informed decisions to maintain public safety.” The NYPD did not respond to requests for comment on Daughtry.
- CCRB record | 50-a.org
- True Blue: NYPD’s Finest
- Police in Gun Searches Face Disbelief in Court | The New York Times
- First-grade detective ‘real’ NYPD boss — not Keechant Sewell, sources say | The New York Post
- NYPD honcho Kaz Daughtry draws critics and supporters after big bump in rank despite long disciplinary record | New York Daily News
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