Suffolk County DA Increases Charges Against Cop Who Targeted Latinos

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 24, 2014
CONTACT: John Garcia, Director of Communications, 212-739-7513, 917-673-9095 or jgarcia@latinojustice.org.

Suffolk County Police Department Sergeant Scott Greene, charged January 31, 2014 with misdemeanor charges for robbing a Latino motorist, was indicted today on multiple felony and misdemeanor counts for targeting and robbing Latinos on seven separate occasions, including seven counts for having committed hate crimes. Three of the seven victims involved are represented by LatinoJustice PRLDEF.

SCPD Sergeant Greene faces charges for committing grand larceny in the fourth degree, grand larceny in the fourth degree as a hate crime, petit larceny, petit larceny as a hate crime and official misconduct. If convicted, he could face many years in prison. Sgt. Greene previously pleaded not guilty to the misdemeanor charges of petty larceny and official misconduct following his arrest on January 31st.

More than a dozen Latino men told LatinoJustice lawyers they were robbed by Sgt. Greene during traffic stops in or around Coram, NY. The information from the men showed a similar pattern. Sgt. Greene, having determined that Latinos were in the car, pulled their car over and ordered them to give their wallets to him, either while they were still in the car or after he told them to exit the car and look the other way; in some instances he simply took their wallets from their pockets once they were outside the car. The men later discovered that money was missing. The robberies occurred as far back as five years ago and as recently as 2013.

“We are encouraged to see justice being served, even if belatedly, for these victims of Sgt. Greene’s crimes, but there are many more victims of Sgt. Greene for which Sgt. Greene must be charged” said Foster Maer, LatinoJustice PRLDEF Senior Attorney. “We estimate scores of Latinos have been robbed by Sgt Greene over the past five or more years in what seems to have been a weekly practice. Given that fact and SCPD’s documented history of failing to protect Latinos from crimes against them, it is the responsibility of the District Attorney to investigate whether other officers had reason to suspect what he was up to yet did nothing to stop him. Moreover, it would reflect poorly on SCPD if their monitoring of their officer’s activities is so inadequate that no one else knew.”

The recent incidents happened while the Suffolk County Police Department was being investigated by the United States Justice Department.

In early 2009, after the murder of Marcelo Lucero at the hands of a gang of young white men, LatinoJustice PRLDEF documented dozens of instances in which the SCPD had failed to investigate attacks against Latinos or discouraged Latinos from reporting crimes and called upon the DOJ to start an independent investigation of the police department, LatinoJustice listed a multitude of crimes committed against Latinos in Suffolk County, amid what has been called an epidemic of anti-Latino hate crimes. Most of these crimes and the failure of police to make any arrests came to light only after Marcelo Lucero was killed by a group of men that targeted Latinos in 2008. Last December, the DOJ and the county police reached an agreement to settle the investigation.

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