CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – A Suffolk County police officer has been arrested in an undercover sting for allegedly targeting Hispanic drivers and then stealing cash from their cars.
Suffolk County Police Sgt. Scott Greene, 50, of Shirley, was in handcuffs as he faced a judge Friday on charges of petty larceny and official misconduct.
Suffolk County District Attorney Tom Spota said while on patrol, Greene would target Hispanic drivers, pull them over, search their cars and steal whatever cash he could find.
“In my view he’s clearly profiling Hispanics,” Spota said.
Greene is accused of stealing from at least three Hispanic drivers, according to prosecutors.
Undercover detectives operated a sting Thursday night in Coram, Spota said.
When Greene pulled them over, he stole $100 from an envelope on the front seat and hid it in his sleeve, police said. The incident was caught on tape.
“I had the car driven by a Latino undercover police officer from the District Attorney’s office to see if the sergeant would take the bait. And indeed, the first time we tried, he took the bait,” said Spota. “It’s always a sad day when we have to announce the arrest of a police officer.”
Greene, a 25-year veteran of the force, makes $170,000 a year, Spota said.
Greene allegedly targeted drivers in Farmingville and Medford at a time when Suffolk police are trying to rebuild their relationship with the Hispanic community.
“If there is any good that comes from this, it is that the department wants the latino community to know that when we receive a complaint, we treat it seriously,” Suffolk County Police Commissioner Edward Webber said.
Police are reviewing all of Greene’s traffic stops to see if there is a pattern of targeting Hispanics. If so, he could face more serious hate crime charges, CBS 2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported.
He pleaded not guilty to the charges in court on Friday.
Prosecutors have not released Greene’s photo, hoping that more victims will come forward and independently identify him.
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