A Suffolk County jury issued a split verdict in the case of an ex-Suffolk County police sergeant on trial for allegedly stealing from Hispanic drivers that prosecutors said he targeted.
Scott Greene was found guilty Friday of petty larceny, official misconduct and grand larceny but was acquitted of more serious hate crimes charges at First District Court in Central Islip.
“The verdict is another chilling reminder of a broken relationship between the Suffolk County Police Department and the Latino community,” Juan Cartagena, president and General Counsel, LatinoJustice PRLDEF, said in a statement after the verdict.
Prosecutors alleged that the 52-year-old Shirley man targeted Hispanic drivers with out-of-state license plates, pulled them over and told them he was searching their vehicles for contraband when he stole their cash.
His defense attorney argued that Greene didn’t target Latinos, although his victims were all Hispanic.
Greene was arrested following an undercover sting in January 2014, a month after the county reached a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to resolve a probe into complaints that the police department discriminated against Hispanics.
Cartagena reiterated calls for the DOJ to step in, citing the Green case and the recent arrest of James Burke, the former Suffolk police chief accused of beating a suspect and covering it up. Cartagena’s group is suing the department, claiming racial discrimination.
Greene faces up to four years in prison when Judge Fernande Comacho sentences him. Greene, who retired a month after his arrest, collects a $68,790 annual pension.