Two Latino men have come forward claiming to be victims of a veteran Suffolk police sergeant charged last month with stopping and robbing Latino drivers. Greg Cergol has the exclusive.
Two Latino men have come forward claiming to be victims of a veteran Suffolk police sergeant charged last month with stopping and robbing Latino drivers.
“He took $200 from me,” said "Victor," an undocumented construction worker who asked that his real name not be used.
Through an interpreter, Victor claimed a Suffolk police officer pulled over a car in which he was a passenger more than a year ago and took cash from both him and the car’s driver.
“There was a lot of fear,” said Victor. “I had already heard from others that there was an officer doing something like this.”
Suffolk’s district attorney charged Sgt. Scott Greene last month with stopping and robbing Latino drivers.
Greene, a 25-year police veteran, was arrested after a sting operation. He allegedly pulled over a car driven by an undercover officer and then took $100 from an envelope in the vehicle, according to prosecutors.
At the time, District Attorney Tom Spota called Greene “a thief masquerading as a police officer;” but prosecutors couldn’t say exactly how many Latinos had been victimized and for how long.
A second alleged victim, calling himself Juan, told NBC 4 New York he was victimized 50 times over a six-year period by the same officer shown in the DA's surveillance video.
“He actually went into my house and went through my drawers,” Juan said through an interpreter.
“I was very, very angry because I didn’t know how to make it stop.”
Both alleged victims said they were initially too afraid to report the thefts. But now, with the help of advocates from the group Make the Road NY, each says he has told his story to Suffolk prosecutors.
“It’s becoming abundantly clear there were many, many victims,” said advocate Irma Solis.
A spokesman for the Suffolk DA wouldn’t confirm that, saying only that the investigation was “moving slowly” because convincing alleged victims to speak out was difficult.
Greene, of Shirley, has been suspended from the Suffolk police department since his arrest. but remains free. His lawyer, Tim Mazzei, didn’t return a call for comment.