This is a more volatile and important civil rights case than the headline suggests. The beginning paragraphs will tell you why:
Plaintiffs alleging that Suffolk County police officers have a policy, pattern and practice of discriminatory policing against Latinos may proceed with the putative class action anonymously, a judge has ruled.
The suit, filed by 21 plaintiffs, claims police subject Latino drivers to illegal traffic stops and target them in a “stop and rob” scheme.
Defendants include the county, its police department, police officials and a former officer, Scott Greene, who is awaiting trial on charges he took money from 27 Latino drivers, some of whom are the plaintiffs.
In Plaintiffs #1-21 v. County of Suffolk, 15-cv-2431, the plaintiffs asked to litigate anonymously because they “fear[ed] that any litigation will lead to further harassment or retaliation, including the extreme harm of deportation.”
They offered to allow limited disclosure of their identities as long as they were not made public, but the county rejected the offer and opposed the anonymity request.
On Wednesday, Eastern District Judge Arthur Spatt granted the request but directed the parties to enter a protective order allowing for limited disclosure of the plaintiffs’ identities for the purpose of discovery.
“Based on the extraordinary nature of these allegations, the court finds that the plaintiffs’ fears of potential retaliation by the [Suffolk County Police Department] appear reasonable, at least until discovery proves otherwise,” he said.
See what I mean? The allegations against the Suffolk County PD make this so-called law enforcement agency sound like a bunch of Southern vigilantes or storm troopers. If these claims are accurate, Suffolk County PD is riddled with criminals.
Can you imagine being treated this way by your police department?