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A Suffolk Police Detective Says He Was Passed Over For Promotion Due To His Race. Now He's Suing.

Police car
Scott Davidson

A Suffolk County Police Detective has filed a lawsuit against his department alleging discrimination.

Detective Sergeant Tulio Serrata said he was passed over for promotion five times because he is Hispanic. He said when he complained about it, he was retaliated against by being assigned to a slower precinct and had his overtime more heavily scrutinized. He made $250,000 in 2020, about $10,000 less than the average for a detective sergeant.

Serrata said he’s suing to force change in the department.

“To focus on the fact that Suffolk County Police Department cannot continue to discriminate and retaliate. It has to stop,” Serrata said.

WSHU reported in February that most of Suffolk’s high ranking officers are white and that getting promoted required “hooks” or political connections. In May Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone trumpeted the promotion of five non-white officers to sergeant. Serrata, however, said nothing has changed and that the Hispanic Officers Association was not consulted during recent police reform efforts.

Police said they do not comment on pending litigation.

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.