Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey is none to happy with Officer Matthew Zagursky, a Philly patrolmen who got a little over-zealous in his efforts to sell tickets to a Police Union Fund Raiser to benefit the families of police officers and firefighters who were killed while on duty. Apparently unbeknown to (probably-soon-to-be-ex) Officer Zagursky he was being filmed while he conducted a traffic stop sometime last week.
Zagursky, aged 32 and a nine (9) year veteran cop, stopped a vehicle sometime last week for an alleged registration / tag violation. Although details surrounding the traffic stop (including the date, time and names of the citizens involved) have not been disclosed the incident came to the attention of the Police Commission when two (2) videos from the scene popped up on Facebook. In a nutshell, Zagursky pressured the driver to support a police fundraiser or have his car towed, and when the driver agrees to buy two (2) tickets at $10.00 a piece Zagursky balks at the offer pushing the driver to buy three (3) tickets instead. You can watch the video by clicking here and following is a partial transcript of the extortion, er, the conversation…
Officer: “You and your friend got any money to buy these Thrill Show tickets? Support your police department? Ten bucks each, man?
And if that isn’t bad enough Zagursky made a reasonably interpreted homophobic comment about the pink windshield wipers on the vehicle…
After watching the Facebook videos Commission Ramsey went on record stating “That’s totally inappropriate, and it could very well be illegal. He [Zagursky] tainted a cause that I think is certainly one that I think we should all be proud of.” Commissioner Ramsey advised that the fund raiser tickets had been available for about a month and that the police department distributes tickets at district offices but that there is no pressure on officers to sell a certain number. In the meantime Zagursky has been taken off of street patrol, placed on desk duty and had his gun taken away. The Commish added that “Officer Matthew Zagursky embarrassed the police department and may have committed a crime.” An internal affairs investigation has commenced but the Commish went even further, advising that he plans on referring the videos to local prosecutors.
Memo to the Folks: This is a shining example of why each and every, bar none, police-citizen encounter should be digitally recorded. If the cops don’t have a camera rolling then you should. But for this citizen’s clandestine videography no one would have believed the cojones on soon-to-be-ex-officer Zagursky. Memo to soon-to-be-ex-Officer Zagursky: You are inappropriate, your judgment is as lousy as you sense of humor, oh, and smile, because….
Memo to soon-to-be-ex-Officer Zagursky continued: Get your pen ready, I see job applications in your future….