The NYPD’s top brass allegedly used confidential details about a sexual assault to defame Greenpoint and Williamsburg’s district leader Dana Rachlin, THE CITY reports.

Through her work with the nonprofits NYC Together and We Build the Block, Rachlin formed close professional ties with the NYPD. But a new lawsuit alleges that those ties were abruptly cut after Rachlin started to voice concerns about police brutality in 2020. 

“In the lawsuit, filed in the Eastern District of New York on Monday, Rachlin alleges that in mid-2020 NYPD officials cut off her access to the North Brooklyn precincts her nonprofit serves and told precinct leaders not to work with her,” says THE CITY.  

Dana Rachlin with the late actor Michael K. Williams, with whom she co-founded We Build the Block. Image courtesy of Dana Rachlin

Furthermore, the NYPD apparently leaked details of Rachlin’s sexual assault through a series of anonymous letters sent around to community leaders and other police officers. The letters also contained additional fabrications and misinformation about the case.

The assault took place at a Williamsburg hotel in 2017. NYPD Chief Jeffrey Maddrey, with whom Rachlin had a friendly relationship, encouraged her to file a report, apparently ensuring she could do so anonymously. It is unclear who leaked the details, but only a handful of officers had access to those files, according to the court documents.


In 2020, Rachlin started speaking out against the police brutality she noticed flaring up during COVID-19, explicitly calling out the commanding officer for the 73rd Precinct in Brownsville, Craig Edelman.

The suit names Edelman, Maddrey, NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Operations Kaz Daughtry, Community Coordinator Brian Adams, and NYPD Chief of Patrol John Chell.

It’s more bad news this week for the beleaguered Chell, currently waging an aggressive social media blitz against local journalists. Chell previously served as the head of the Brooklyn North Detective Bureau.

North Brooklyn’s own elected officials spoke out in support of Rachlin.

Rachlin recently earned recognition as a local Woman of Distinction, a joint honor from the offices of Assemblymember Emily Gallagher and State Senator Julia Salazar.

“Last month, @JuliaCarmel__ and I named Dana a Women of Distinction for her integrity, courage and commitment to justice,” Gallagher tweeted. “Coming forward with this harrowing experience just demonstrates those values again. We love and support her always.” 

Salazar also concurred. “I continue to be impressed by @Dana_Rachlin’s courage and fearlessness in speaking truth to power. Solidarity with her as she holds accountable those who have abused their power and sought to silence her.”

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