Philadelphia Officer Under Investigation After Shown Threatening To Seize Car Unless Occupants Buy Police Fundraiser Tickets

Screen Shot 2015-08-22 at 2.32.49 PMPhiladelphia police officer Matthew Zagursky, 32, appears to believe there is no better time to close a sale than a traffic stop. Zagursky was selling tickets to the “Police and Fire Hero Thrill Show fundraiser” and decided to make a rather curious pitch: buy these tickets or I take your car.

The nine-year veteran of the police force is seen on a YouTube video (posted by the drivers) asking if the men in the car have the money to buy tickets for a fundraiser to pay college tuition for children of Philadelphia police officers and firefighters killed in the line of duty. “You and your friend got any money to buy these thrill show tickets? Support your police department. Ten bucks each, man.” He then drives home the bargain by threatening “Either you buy these, or I take your car because it’s unregistered. Ten bucks each man.”

The men cough up the cash and then one went online to post the video.

Zagursky has been taken off the streets pending investigation.

The question is whether this exchange is evidence of a crime. The officer is suggesting a quid pro quo — looking the other way on a violation if the men buy ticket. However, (with the possible exception of an award for sales), the money is not going to the officer for personal gain. There is also the simply question of abuse of authority.

What do you think should be the punishment in such a case?

37 thoughts on “Philadelphia Officer Under Investigation After Shown Threatening To Seize Car Unless Occupants Buy Police Fundraiser Tickets”

  1. Coming from an antisocial, lonely and angry anarchist, such as you, Neo, I welcome the compliment.

  2. @ bam bam

    LOL. I don’t think you have the mental aptitude to out smart a marshmallow.

    And thank you Paul, I do my best.

  3. Your opinion of me, Neo, is meaningless. Inconsequential. Your remarks, on this site and on others, have exposed you for what you are–a societal misfit and malcontent, eager to demonize the police, along with any or all authority figures. The sad fact is that you couldn’t manage to find your way out of a paper bag and would run crying, like a child, to the police, in a heartbeat. The same police you deem to be criminals. How very sad and strange your small life must be. Call me what you wish. An insult from the likes of you is truly a compliment. Your incessant, bizarre rants speak volumes. No projection, just the facts.

  4. “……pathetic weaklings, like yourself–hiding behind a computer screen, wearing dirty underpants, in some dark and secluded basement–would be toast.”

    Is that not a sad projection of yourself, bam bam?

    Psychological projection?

    Sociopathic tendencies?

    Hummm

    1. Neo – I am man enough to post under my own name. You not only are not man/woman enough to post under you own name, you have to use the name of a fictional character. You have no originality or creativity. However, you do troll well.

    1. Bam bam

      The only thin blue line I ever see is in on the side of I40 tossing cars with Texas plates.

  5. This is going to be a hard one for the police department. What do you do with a guy who extorts tickets for your annual scholarship fund for the kids? It is going to be even worse if the watch commander made an off-hand comment that morning that made him think it was okay.

  6. There you have it, folks. All cops are criminals. You heard it here. They are to be reviled. Unworthy of respect. Show no respect to the brave men and women in blue, who put their lives on the line, daily, protecting the lives of all, including the dirtbags and dregs of society who comment on this site. Inalienable Wrights or Rights? Your sad and weak a$$ would have no rights if it weren’t for the police, who form that thin blue line between you and a world totally consumed and engulfed in a state of complete anarchy. No wonder we have animals taking potshots at police officers on the streets. Don’t like what this officer did? Fine. Reprimand him. Fine him. Suspend him. Terminate him. The idiocy of calling all cops unsavory criminals and thugs is outrageous. Without what you term as alleged criminals, who protect and serve, pathetic weaklings, like yourself–hiding behind a computer screen, wearing dirty underpants, in some dark and secluded basement–would be toast.

    1. “…There you have it, folks. All cops are criminals. You heard it here….”

      *** Yes they are, the ALL violate your rights rather than protecting them. For instance how many cops do you know that don’t enforce all of the illegitimate gun laws that we have? Yes every gun law is illegitimate and in clear violation of the 2nd amendment, How many cops do you know that enforce the unconstitutional drug laws? These laws besides being unconstitutional are premised on the belief that you do not even own your own body. The state and the cop does. The very definition of being a slave…….

      “They are to be reviled. Unworthy of respect. Show no respect to the brave men and women in blue, who put their lives on the line, daily, protecting the lives of all, including the dirtbags and dregs of society who comment on this site. Inalienable Wrights or Rights? ”

      *** Please do your homework before you speak….pigs are not even in the top ten of dangerous occupations.

      “Your sad and weak a$$ would have no rights if it weren’t for the police, who form that thin blue line between you and a world totally consumed and engulfed in a state of complete anarchy. ”

      *** In fact I am an advocate of a voluntary society. I am very safe with just me protecting me from criminals. The problem is defending myself against the criminals that wear blue because they have a license to commit damn near any crime imaginable.

      No wonder we have animals taking potshots at police officers on the streets. Don’t like what this officer did? Fine. Reprimand him. Fine him. Suspend him. Terminate him. The idiocy of calling all cops unsavory criminals and thugs is outrageous. Without what you term as alleged criminals, who protect and serve, pathetic weaklings, like yourself–hiding behind a computer screen, wearing dirty underpants, in some dark and secluded basement–would be toast.

      *** To anyone with a brain. To anyone that understands what a right is. Cops are the lowest form of life and are much more dangerous and unsavory than so called “criminals” In fact most of my friends and family are “criminals” since as Ayn Rand predicted, the state has made everyone a criminal, that is except for the real criminals – the states dogs, the police.

      *** “There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. ” ~(paraphrased: Page 406 of Ayn Rand’s, Atlas Shrugged )

  7. InalienableWrights (<= great nom de guerre en ligne): I'd agree that some police misconduct should be severely dealt with. On the other hand, we should recognize it's a very difficult job officers have, and they're required to get it right all the time, which none of the rest of us is required to or could do. After hours and hours of routine boredom the consequences of bad split-second decision-making while riding an adrenaline dump in what may or may not be a life-threatening situation can range from the loss of a career and family to a fatality, my point being that not all police misconduct should receive severe discipline.

    The guy pedaling fundraising tickets while further harming public safety needs to be criminally prosecuted.

    1. “…should recognize it’s a very difficult job officers have, and they’re required to get it right all the time,…”

      The exact opposite is the truth. WE the people are required to get things right ALL of the time, cops do what ever the hell they want to.

      Cops are nothing more than order followers that will enforce any evil or illegitimate “law” that the clowns in the legislature put on paper. I don’t revere or make excuses for these criminals like you seem to Steve. I revile them. They are unsavory criminals and thugs to the man. Anyone that enforces illegitimate law is a criminal in my book.

  8. “Can’t you support breast cancer another way? You look like a fruitcake.”

    The extortion is deplorable, but their interaction was humorous. However, what I find mildly humorous I also understand could be massively offensive. Especially after having been shaken down, to deal with these insults? Emotional damages.

  9. Isn’t an unregistered car usually a matter of not having the money to re-register? That’s usually a fine here and having the car towed home or impounded.

    By doing nothing about it being unregistered, the officer has allowed an effectively uninsured car to be driven on public streets.

    And, as Darren graciously points out, it appears to be extortion under secs. 3923(a)(4) and bribery under 4701(a)(3).

    So, I’d bet nothing will be done other than a remark on the officer’s fitness report that he’s not a fruitcake and he tirelessly supports the police fundraisers.

  10. The guy should lose his job, be prohibited from ever being a cop again, and spend some time in jail.

    This is clearly extortion which you and I would go to jail for. Cops should expect a harsher punishment than you or I due to their position of trust.

  11. The tone of the whole encounter seemed extremely friendly and almost as if the cop was having those stopped ‘on’. The lightest penalty should be that the cop gives back the money and is obligated to buy a hundred tickets himself or more. A hefty fine with the proceeds going to the college fund for children of cops and firefighters whose dads were killed in the line of duty on Tuesdays and Thursdays, along with a severe reprimand. Or, can the idiot.

  12. It was a shakedown. He should be fired. It destroys community trust when police officers act like they work for Tony Soprano.

  13. Aside from what appears to be extortion, the officer threatens to take the car because it is unregistered? Is it common practice in Philadelphia to seize cars which are found to be unregistered at the time of a traffic stop? It’s not where I live. Here, the driver would merely receive a citation for failing to register the vehicle, which is a non-moving, no-point violation. It is easily–and quite inexpensively–disposed of in court once proof of registration is presented. I wonder if he was pressured to meet some type of quota within the police department with regard to the sale of these tickets? Not an excuse for the behavior–just additional information.

  14. Didn’t he see the camera?

    Combine terminal stupidity with poor morals and he seems ill equiped to function in society.

  15. It is my belief that the officer could be charged with the crime of Theft by Extortion. Pennsylvania law reads:

    § 3923. Theft by extortion.

    (a) Offense defined.–A person is guilty of theft if he intentionally obtains or withholds property of another by threatening to:

    (1) commit another criminal offense;

    (2) accuse anyone of a criminal offense;

    (3) expose any secret tending to subject any person to hatred, contempt or ridicule;

    (4) take or withhold action as an official, or cause an official to take or withhold action;

    (5) bring about or continue a strike, boycott or other collective unofficial action, if the property is not demanded or received for the benefit of the group in whose interest the actor purports to act;

    (6) testify or provide information or withhold testimony or information with respect to the legal claim or defense of another; or

    (7) inflict any other harm which would not benefit the actor.

    In this case I believe the officer held the driver and his passenger(s) under color of law and threatened to take an enforcement action unless they bought from him these fundraiser tickets.

    The tickets are, I believe for the benefit of a charity providing services to a class of persons for which this officer is probably a member. From that charity it is possible that he or others such as his family can receive benefits from this organization should he fall within the parameters of the organization’s indemnification rules.

    From what the allegations are, if the drive did not agree to purchase the tickets he would then be subjected to a greater level of cost to him in the manner of impounding his vehicle. Such a demand made by the officer is that he is in a position of authority over the driver and the driver could reasonably state that he felt that he could suffer additional measures exacted against him.

    I further believe that Bribery could be another crime possibly charged.

    Chapter § 4701. Bribery in official and political matters.
    (a) Offenses defined.–A person is guilty of bribery, a
    felony of the third degree, if he offers, confers or agrees to
    confer upon another, or solicits, accepts or agrees to accept
    from another:
    (1) any pecuniary benefit as consideration for the
    decision, opinion, recommendation, vote or other exercise of
    discretion as a public servant, party official or voter by
    the recipient;
    (2) any benefit as consideration for the decision, vote,
    recommendation or other exercise of official discretion by
    the recipient in a judicial, administrative or legislative
    proceeding; or
    (3) any benefit as consideration for a violation of a
    known legal duty as public servant or party official.

    Under this statute, it is my belief that with the facts alleged the officer solicited a bribe (tickets) in order for the enforcement action by the officer to be curtailed. To me the facts alleged fit within the elements of the bribery statute.

    On the federal level at least it could be argued in my opinion that the officer violated the due process rights of the driver by not permitting him the due process of contesting any towing action. That is the due process was not allowed because the officer thwarted that process by demanding payment without any specific hearing that is available to him to contest any towing.

    Lastly, it could be argued that he could be charged with multiple offenses due to the demands for money made upon the passengers.

    As for any punishment of the officer for these events alleged he certainly created a liability to the city by the actions taken. Another topic that is not easily apparent was that he also made a homophobic slur when he discussed the windshield wipers’ color, using the derogatory word “fruitcake”. But the criminal acts alleged in my view are sufficient for me to expect after he goes through an internal affairs process I suspect he cold face significant discipline up to termination.

  16. I don’t think Dave Ramsey would approve of this guy’s budget.

    If you can’t afford car tags you shouldn’t be going out to shows.

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