PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A patrolman who appears in a video pressuring a driver to support a police fundraiser or have his car towed has been placed on desk duty, police said.
Officer Matthew Zagursky embarrassed the police department and may have committed a crime, Commissioner Charles Ramsey said.
On the video, the officer asks: "You and your friend got any money to buy these thrill show tickets? Either you buy these or I take your car. 'Cause it's unregistered. Ten bucks each, man."
The uniformed officer balks at the driver's plan to buy just two tickets, and the driver ultimately agrees to give the officer $30 for three tickets.
The officer also is heard making a homophobic remark while discussing pink windshield wipers on the unregistered car. The driver says they honor a grandmother who had breast cancer.
Ramsey said he learned of the video on Friday morning and plans to refer it to local prosecutors.
"That's totally inappropriate, and it could very well be illegal," Ramsey said. "He tainted a cause that I think is certainly one that I think we should all be proud of."
Zagursky couldn't be reached for comment because he doesn't have a listed phone number. The police union said it couldn't comment because its president was on vacation.
The fall fundraiser collects money for the families of police officers and firefighters killed on duty. Ramsey said the police department distributes tickets at district offices but does not pressure officers to sell a certain number.
The video appears to have been taken from within the car. Ramsey said he does not know when the traffic stop occurred, but he said the tickets displayed by the officer have been available for only about a month.
Police learned of the video after it was posted on Facebook. They hope to learn the names of the driver and a male passenger.
The Philadelphia Inquirer first reported Friday on an Internal Affairs investigation into the video.