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Judge OKs Class Action Suit Against Suffolk Police For Discrimination

Law enforcement stops a driver.
Rich Pedroncelli

A federal judge has granted class-action status to Latinos accusing Suffolk County Police of racial discrimination. This opens the door to additional outside oversight of the department.

The advocacy group LatinoJustice has had a six-year civil rights lawsuit against Suffolk Police for what they call biased policing. Police data shows that Latinos are stopped and searched more often than white drivers. The department recently banned officers from searching drivers without probable cause. However, that doesn’t go far enough, according to Atara Miller, a lawyer representing several of the plaintiffs. She said an independent monitor is necessary.

“Something that is going to be able to have access to the data and ensure that this is continued compliance and steps toward progress,” Miller said.

Miller said while much of the scrutiny is on Suffolk, she doesn’t think Nassau County is any better. However, unlike Suffolk, she said, getting data from the Nassau County police is much more difficult.

Charles is senior reporter focusing on special projects. He has won numerous awards including an IRE award, three SPJ Public Service Awards, and a National Murrow. He was also a finalist for the Livingston Award for Young Journalists and Third Coast Director’s Choice Award.