Advocate claims racial profiling in license crackdown
An immigrant advocate has accused the Suffolk County Police Department of racial profiling in implementing a crackdown on unlicensed drivers.
In a three-week operation, Suffolk police arrested 48 people for driving without a valid license or form of identification. Half of those individuals were arrested in the 6th Precinct, where a large Hispanic population resides.
"This was targeting," Rev. Allan Ramirez said. "It was targeting the Latino community."
Suffolk Police Commissioner Richard Dormer denied that claim, saying the numbers spiked where they did because the 6th Precinct was the pilot precinct for the policy. Nonetheless, Dormer stopped the program for two weeks to make sure it was being conducted properly and reinstituted it Monday.
Suffolk District Attorney Tom Spota said through a spokesperson that he agrees that unlicensed drivers should be taken off the road, but only if the crackdown is implemented uniformly throughout all seven precincts.
Unlicensed drivers, who Dormer said are three times more likely to get into an accident, must pay a $300 fine and $40 surcharge on their first offense. The second time, the person's car is impounded.