Report shows Suffolk PD has made progress with Latinos since Lucero case

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RIVERHEAD -

The Justice Department found that the Suffolk County Police Department has made progress in its interactions with the Latino community in the 10 years since a brutal hate crime.

In 2008, Suffolk police were criticized for their handling of a case involving seven Long Island teenagers who beat Marcelo Lucero, an Ecuadorian immigrant, to death in Patchogue.

The DOJ began evaluating the department’s interactions with the Latino community in 2014 in response to that killing.

According to the report, the police department earned a “partial compliance” mark in three categories – bias-free policing, language assistance and community engagement. Partial compliance is the assessment’s second highest mark.

The department earned “substantial compliance” in the other three categories - policies and training generally, hate crimes and hate incidents and allegations of police misconduct.

Commissioner Geraldine Hart told News 12 that the department is “continuing to build bridges.”

“We are continuing to work on those relationships,” she said. “There has been a considerable effort by the past administration in that regard and we are going to continue that moving forward.”

Irma Solis, the Suffolk County director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, says the results are still not being felt in neighborhoods.

“Even though they've made changes to the policies, it hasn't reached down to the local patrol,” she says.

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