Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota said a sting operation using a hidden camera caught one of their own: Suffolk County Police Sgt. Scott Greene, who is accused of stealing cash from Latinos during traffic stops.
"He's brought discredit and shame to the badge he once wore but will never wear again," Spota said.
The district attorney said surveillance video shows Greene, a 25-year veteran cop, taking a $100 bill from a cash-filled envelope. The sergeant is then seen slipping the money up his left sleeve.
Greene is now charged with, among other things, larceny as a hate crime. Spota said Greene was clearly targeting Hispanics because they were more likely to be carrying cash.
"They were very much afraid of any retribution," said Irma Solis of Make the Road New York, a Latino advocacy group that helped 22 Latino victims come forward. Six of them positively identified the sergeant. Others are now out of the country.
Suffolk County police officers are among the highest paid in the country. Greene made more than $177,000 last year and more than $175,000 in 2012, according to SeeThroughNY.net, a website run by The Empire Center.
The D.A. said that makes it even more difficult to understand why the sergeant jeopardized so much for less than $1,000 in stolen cash.
Greene appeared in court Monday. He pleaded not guilty to the charges in the 21-count indictment. A judge released him on his own recognizance.