PATCHOGUE, N.Y. - He is the highest ranking Hispanic officer in the Suffolk County police department, now Inspector Aristedes Mojica will take command of the fifth precinct, which has recently come under intense scrutiny after a series of bias attacks, including the death of Ecuadorian immigrant Marcello Lucero.
Mojica spoke at a news conference Tuesday, outlining his plans for the department's future.
Mojica, chosen by Commissioner Richard Dormer, replaces Commander Salvatore Manno who will be reassigned to headquarters.
Dormer who canceled an appearance at a morning news conference, was unavailable for comment Tuesday.
County executive Steve Levy who has also come under intense fire, for reportedly creating an anti-immigrant climate in Suffolk County, insisted he wasn't behind the police department shake up.
"This is a person who has through the years, worked himself up the ladder," Levy said.
Hispanic Rights advocates blasted the Suffolk County Police Department Monday, saying the unit constantly fails to properly report hate crimes.
Fernando Mateo, an Hispanic advocate, held up a police report yesterday, void of any details, taken after an Hispanic man was shot with a BB gun the morning before Lucero was killed.
Two of the seven teens implicated in murder, wound up being charged in that BB gun attack.
"This is the kind of practice that has us believing there is a huge cover up in the county," Mateo said. Mateo called Mojica's promotion a token appointment.
Mojica says Internal Affairs is investigating how police handled the BB gun attack.
As far as perceptions go about his appointment to lead the 5th precinct, Inspector Mojica says he doesn't care what the skeptics think or say. He says the changes and improvements he makes will speak for themselves.