A former Suffolk County police sergeant has been charged with 20 more hate crimes in an indictment that accuses him of repeatedly targeting and stealing from Hispanic motorists.
Scott A. Greene, 50, of Shirley, who retired in April, already was charged with several counts of fourth-degree grand larceny as a hate crime and official misconduct for allegedly stealing from six Hispanic motorists.
The new indictment unsealed Tuesday accuses him of stealing from 20 other Hispanic drivers who told prosecutors what happened to them. For each victim, he is charged with larceny, larceny as a hate crime and official misconduct.
State Supreme Court Justice Fernando Camacho allowed Greene to remain free with no bail, although Greene did spend the morning in handcuffs after turning himself in to face the new charges. He pleaded not guilty and left the courtroom escorted by court officers and his attorney, Timothy Mazzei of Blue Point. Greene and Mazzei did not comment.
As with the previous cases, District Attorney Thomas Spota said Greene pulled over Hispanic motorists driving cars in Coram with out-of-state license plates. He asked for the driver’s wallet, went back to his patrol car and then returned the wallet — minus about $100 — and let them go without writing a traffic ticket.
Spota said investigators “had to scour thousands of documents to corroborate” the accusations, including radio transmissions, license plate checks and summonses written by Greene.
He credited Hispanic advocacy groups for helping the new victims come forward and testify before a grand jury.
Spota said the investigation is continuing and his office is still willing to hear from other potential victims.
Irma Solis, Long Island organizer for Make The Road New York, thanked Spota for taking the victims seriously and pursuing Greene.
She and Spota differed, however, on whether Greene acted alone. Spota said his investigation found no other officer engaging in such behavior. Solis said that seemed unlikely, and she urged prosecutors to cast a wider net.
“It’s very difficult to believe others [in the police department] didn’t know what he was doing,” Solis said. Greene should be held responsible for what he did, but not for anyone else, she said.
Greene was first targeted in a sting in January, a result of a half-dozen other drivers identifying him as the officer who pulled them over and stole their cash, prosecutors said.
Greene was arrested Jan. 30 after he was recorded on video taking $100 cash from an envelope on the front seat of a car driven by a Hispanic undercover detective on Granny Road in Coram, Spota said.
Spota said Greene also stood out for his seemingly zealous traffic enforcement. “It was an extraordinary amount of stops for a sergeant,” he said.