This morning Suffolk County Police Sergeant Scott Greene appeared in a Central Islip court to be arraigned on a 21-count indictment for deliberately pulling over Latino motorists, and stealing cash from them during traffic stops.
He pled not guilty to the indictment that included six counts of Grand Larceny in the fourth degree as a hate crime, a class “D” felony, one charge of Petit Larceny as a hate crime, a class “E” felony.
Suffolk Police Sergeant Scott Greene was arrested during an undercover sting operation on January 30th, after two victims came forward to report the sergeant’s crimes. During the sting operation, surveillance video recorded him taking money from an envelope placed by the operator of the vehicle, a DA Squad Hispanic undercover detective.
In a press conference held a couple of hours held after Greene’s arraignment, Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota acknowledged the severity of the crimes committed by the sergeant, noting that Greene “used his badge for a thief’s motive,” and that Greene brought “discredit” and “shame” to the badge he once wore. He provided details of the incidents, describing how Greene would pull over Latino motorists, having the drivers stand to the side of the road, while he would search for “contraband”, and let the drivers go after he had removed cash from the vehicles. Another method used was that Greene would have the drivers hand over their wallets, which violates standard police practice of only asking for a person’s license during a traffic stop.
District Attorney Spota cited Greene’s motives for targeting Latinos as an assumption that Latinos carry a lot of cash on their person, speak limited English, and would be unlikely to report the crime. He noted that in total, 22 individuals have come forward to report similar crimes since Greene’s arrest and that there were potentially more cases that have not been reported. The DA’s office is aware that there may be victims living back in their native countries, including Ecuador, Mexico, and Honduras, and Spota said he would be working to receive those individual’s testimonies as well. He strongly affirmed that all victims and individuals with information should call the DA, regardless of immigration status. The DA’s office is also investigating further possible leads of similar crimes by other officers, as part of their ongoing investigation.
To report a crime contact the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office at 631-775-2077, or Irma Solis at Make The Road in Brentwood at 631-512-1587 Long Island Wins at 516-333-7004.