A veteran Suffolk County police patrol sergeant, accused of stealing money from drivers, mostly all of whom were Hispanic, was arrested Thursday during an undercover operation, Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota said.
Sgt. Scott Greene, a 25-year veteran of the SCPD, pleaded not guilty to official misconduct and petit larceny on Friday.
Greene, 50, was the target of an undercover operation Thursday night in which he’s allegedly seen in surveillance video taking a $100 bill from inside the undercover cop’s car he had just pulled over, officials said.
“I am particularly outraged by the conduct of this officer who was sworn to protect the community but instead targeted individuals who he perceived to be vulnerable,” said Suffolk County Police Commissioner Ed Weber.
Authorities said the Hispanic undercover detective was driving a car with its rear license plate intentionally left dangling on Granny Road in Coram.
Greene, Spota said, spotted the car, pulled along side it, and then performed a traffic stop. The DA said he believes Greene pulled next to the car to first “establish the ethnicity of the driver.”
After Greene allegedly grabbed the $100 bill from an envelope containing hundreds of dollars, he slipped it into the cuff of his shirt, Spota said.
After he was placed under arrest, Spota said that an invisible powder sprinkled on the cash was found on Green’s uniform and hands.
Greene was suspended without pay and had his police-issued weapon and shield confiscated.
The alleged targeting of Hispanics by the police sergeant comes almost two months after the U.S. Department of Justice and Suffolk police reached a deal that calls for the department to implement policies to ensure officers don’t discriminate against the Hispanic community. The settlement was approved by the Suffolk Legislature on Dec. 17.
Federal investigators began investigating the department shortly after the killing of Ecuadorian immigrant Marcelo Lucero by seven teenagers in Patchogue in 2008.