Dept. Of Justice, Suffolk County police settle on anti-Latino bias charges

December 4, 2013 Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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The Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York announced that they have tentatively agreed to a settlement with the Suffolk County Police Department which calls for SCPD to implement new and enhanced policies and procedures to ensure nondiscrimination in police practices in Latino communities.

The agreement, which the Department of Justice has agreed to, requires approval of the Suffolk County Legislature before it will be formally executed by the parties.

The federal government began an investigation of SCPD in 2009 in the wake of the killing of Marcelo Lucero, an Ecuadorian national who was murdered by a group of teenagers in Patchogue, N.Y., as he was walking home on the evening of Nov. 8, 2008. The investigation focused on allgegations of discriminatory policing, including claims that SCPD discouraged Latino victims from filing complaints and that it failed to investigate crimes and hate-crime incidents involving Latinos.

The federal goernment issued a Technical Assistance letter on Sept. 13, 2011, which recommended a wide range of reforms to improve policing by the SCPD, focused particularly on promoting trust between SCPD and the Latino community.  he announced agreement incorporates those recommendations and commits SCPD to significant changes in how it engages the Latino community.

“All residents of Suffolk County deserve full and unbiased police protection, regardless of national origin, race or citizenship status,” said Loretta E. Lynch, United States attorney for the Eastern District of New York. “When people feel they cannot turn to the police for protection, they have lost one of our most basic rights – the right to feel safe in one’s community. Law enforcement also suffers when it does not hear from everyone under its umbrella of protection. I commend Suffolk County and SCPD for its cooperation with the United States’ investigation and its willingness to ensure fairness and equal treatment for all.”

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