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Ethics Board Probes Allegations of "Improper Edits" of Hate Crime Report

January 10, 2011

NEW YORK - The Suffolk County lawmaker who filed an ethics complaint against a high-ranking county official says the local ethics board has received it, and County Legislator Dewayne Gregory expects the board to begin closed hearings on the matter as early as this week. At issue is a draft report from a Hate Crimes Task Force that Gregory serves on.

Gregory says the draft originally included hours of public comment critical of the handling by County Executive Steve Levy's administration of immigrant issues, and he believes it was improper to edit anything out.

"We were told on directive by the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council that the report was 150 pages long, and that was in October. And we get a report that's 98 pages. What's going on here? What's missing? What's not here?"

Chief Deputy County Executive Edward Dumas confirms that he reviewed the draft report to make sure it was accurate concerning police policy. The Suffolk County Ethics Board does not comment on cases that are pending.

The Hate Crime Task Force was formed after the murder of immigrant Marcelo Lucero. Ted Hesson, the online editor for "Long Island Wins," says the mission of the task force was to try to ensure all sides would be heard, particularly immigrant voices that he says tend to be marginalized.

"The message I have heard most is that this has eroded trust in the immigrant community, and that they were expecting this to restore trust, but what they got was the opposite."

While the Ethics Board is mum, Gregory says they typically take up cases within a week of a complaint being filed.

Hate crimes against immigrants have troubled Long Island in recent years.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NY