Trial Kicks Off for Former NYPD Cop Who Allegedly Stole From Latino Motorists
The trial has started for the former New York Police District cop, Scott Greene, from Suffolk County after being charged for allegedly stealing money from Hispanic drivers between 2010 and 2014. Reports say that court resumed on Tuesday where Greene pleaded not guilty.
Fox News Latino reports that Greene's attorney argued that the 24-year veteran sergeant "violated every oath he ever took" by stealing money from Long Island motorists but denied targeting Hispanic drivers.
However, Assistant District Attorney Tisha Burrows said during her opening statement in court per Newsday, "Sadly, we are here today because of this defendant's disgraceful choices. He victimized the very people he swore to serve and protect."
The news comes after Greene was videotaped while on the job, collecting around $100 to an undercover Latino driver, which led to his arrest on Jan. 30, 2014. A total of 21 Hispanic drivers claimed that they were targeted by Greene, Fox News Latino reported.
While Greene's innocence is yet to be determined, 37-year-old Marco Guallpa from Hauppauge, per Newsday, that he went to the local precinct to report that $120 was missing after he was stopped by Greene in Coram on Sept. 8, 2013.
Greene, therefore, faces 32 years of imprisonment if convicted on all counts, including the most serious one involving felony larceny as a hate crime. The Hispanic drivers' identities have been protected as one federal judge has ruled that there is "reasonable" fear of police retaliation. The drivers also claimed that they were targeted by Greene because of their ethnicity.
"The hate crime is manufactured," Scott Gross, Greene's lawyer, said as quoted by Pix 11, regarding his client's case being treated as a hate crime, calling it "a figment of the DA's office imagination."
"It never happened," Gross continued. "[Prosecutors] went to great efforts trying to make the hate crime stick. That's what we're fighting."
However, Jose Perez, an attorney of the advocacy group Latino Justice disagrees, saying, "When there's overwhelming evidence of guilt. Obviously, the defense has to come up with something. They're grasping at straws, that's what they're doing."
Meanwhile, as Greene's party admits that he may be guilty on one count, his lawyer denied the truth to other claims made by the other Hispanic drivers, CBS New York reports. "They all have financial motivations driven by a federal lawsuit," Gross said.