Matthew Zagursky, a Philadelphia police officer who was caught on tape uttering anti-LGBT slurs, has been cleared for active street-patrol duties.
Earlier this month, Zagursky returned to the 24th police district, which covers the Frankford section of Northeast Philadelphia.
During a traffic stop, Zagursky referred to a motorist’s windshield wipers as “faggot-assed,” and urged the man to date a woman, so he wouldn’t look like a “fruitcake.” Zagursky also encouraged the man to purchase tickets to a police charity in order to avoid having his car impounded.
In August, after a public outcry, Zagursky was assigned to desk duty at the Police Administration Building, and his service revolver was taken from him.
Lt. John Stanford, a police spokesperson, told PGN this week that Zagursky’s service revolver has been returned to him.
“We wouldn’t put somebody back on active duty without that [revolver],” Stanford said.
Though Zagursky has been cleared for street patrol, his commanding officer could have him work indoors, as long as the assignment isn’t punitive in nature, Stanford added. If Zagursky patrols the streets, he could do so in a cruiser, on foot or on a bicycle, Stanford said.
“Going back to the street doesn’t mean his actions were condoned or everything is OK with what he did,” Stanford continued. “There’s still a second part of the process, which is his discipline.”
Stanford said any discipline imposed on Zagursky would be made public at the discretion of the police commissioner.
Zagursky, 32, is a nine-year veteran of the force. PGN’s request to interview him was denied by the department.
In the traffic-stop video, Zagursky can be heard blatantly gender-stereotyping and exhibiting anti-LGBT bias. For example, when questioning the motorist about his pink windshield wipers, he said: “What’s up with the faggot-ass wipers?”
The motorist indicated the wipers are pink to demonstrate support for breast-cancer awareness.
“Breast cancer I can understand,” Zagursky replied. “But can’t you support breast cancer in another way? It looks like you’re a fruitcake. You know? What the hell?”
Zagursky encouraged the motorist to purchase tickets to a Police and Fire Thrill Show, and to take a female so he won’t look like a “fruitcake.”
The thrill show raises funds to pay college tuition for the children of Philadelphia police officers and firefighters killed in the line of duty.
Additionally, Zagursky referred to the man’s vehicle and its content as “shit.”
The motorist handed Zagursky money for thrill-show tickets to avoid having his vehicle impounded.
Stanford said the Internal Affairs Division’s report of the incident isn’t available to the public.
Former state Rep. Babette Josephs criticized the police department’s handling of the Zagursky matter.
“The police can’t keep doing this stuff and expect to have a decent relationship with the community,” Josephs told PGN. “Here is another case that erodes the effectiveness of law enforcement in the LGBT community. The police can’t do their job, they can’t keep us secure or assure their own safety, if the public believes that unprofessional police behavior isn’t punished.”
Zagursky‘s annual salary is $64,495, according to city records.