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Scott Greene jury asks for definition of hate crime, to rehear testimony

Scott Greene, a former Suffolk County police sergeant,

Scott Greene, a former Suffolk County police sergeant, walks in the hall of County Court in Central Islip on Jan 14, 2016. Photo Credit: Ed Betz

Jurors in the trial of a former Suffolk County police sergeant charged with stealing money from Hispanic motorists asked for and got a readback of testimony Thursday from three of the men who said they were victims.

When the jury in the trial of Scott Greene returns to County Court in Central Islip on Friday, they are scheduled to hear another readback of testimony they requested from two more men who said they were victims.

Six Hispanic men testified through an interpreter during the trial that their vehicles were stopped by Greene in the Coram area between 2010 and the end of 2013, and they were searched by the sergeant when they could not provide a driver’s license or other documents.

All of them said they later found that money was missing from their wallets or pockets. Several of them were able to specify the exact amount missing because they were day laborers who were paid their weekly cash wages in $100 and $50 bills.

All the men testified through an interpreter last week, and the judge had repeatedly admonished the interpreter to keep her voice up.

Greene, 52, of Shirley, retired shortly after his arrest on Jan. 30, 2014, during a sting set up by Suffolk County police and prosecutors. He faces a maximum of 7 to 20 years in prison if convicted on the most serious charge, grand larceny in the fourth degree as a hate crime, making it a higher level of felony that just grand larceny.

He is also charged with stealing a $100 bill from the vehicle driven by the undercover officer, but not as a hate crime.

The jurors began deliberations late Wednesday after four days of testimony. They sent a note to Judge Fernando Camacho after an hour, asking to see pictures of the trial witnesses. The judge said there were no pictures in evidence.

Thursday morning, they asked the judge to reread the law on what constitutes a hate crime. He repeated his instructions that hate crimes are those where the victims are targeted because of their race, ethnicity or national origin.

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