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Former N.Y. cop faces hate crime charges for robbing Hispanics

By Curtis Skinner

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A former police sergeant pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to hate crime charges for stealing cash from Hispanic motorists during traffic stops on New York's Long Island, officials said.

Scott Greene, 50, faced 60 counts of larceny and official misconduct after a sting operation revealed him pulling over Hispanic drivers and stealing money from them, a spokesman for the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office said.

Between July 2010 and January 2014, the 25-year veteran of the Suffolk County Police Department stopped more than 20 different men on the road, according to the prosecutor's office.

Greene was arrested in January after pulling over an undercover Hispanic officer who was driving a car equipped with surveillance cameras as part of a sting operation, the office said in a statement.

Video from the car showed Greene stealing a $100 bill from the officer, and a fine powder that had been sprinkled on the bill was later found on Greene's uniform and hands, the office said.

In March, Greene was indicted on hate crime charges of grand larceny and petty larceny for victimizing six Hispanic men. District Attorney Thomas Spota said Greene informed investigators then that they should expect more victims to come forward.

After appearing in Suffolk County court on Tuesday, Greene was released on his own recognizance. His attorney, Timothy Mazzei, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

(Reporting by Curtis Skinner; Editing by Barbara Goldberg)

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