Torrance Police Chief Mark Matsuda has been suspended from his job until February 13, according to a Daily Breeze report. The suspension resulted from allegations that Chief Matsuda made sexual and racist comments in a personnel complaint filed in October.
Chief Matsuda confirmed the suspension in a telephone interview.
This is not the first time the Torrance Police Department has been linked to racism. In 1993, the city of Torrance was sued by the government who alleged racially biased hiring practices in the city's police department. Three teenagers filed a federal civil rights lawsuit after being pulled over, ordered out of the car at gunpoint, patted down, and being forced to wait while Torrance police officers searched their vehicle - the teens alleged they were pulled over not for an actual offense, but because two of them were black. In the 2015 hit biographical film Straight Outta Compton, members of rap group NWA are shown being harassed by Torrance Police officers for no apparent reason after leaving a recording studio in the city.
Chief Matsuda is Torrance's 10th police chief, and the first Asian-American to hold the job. Chief Matsuda has declined to discuss the allegations under the Peace Officers' Bill of Rights (POBOR) which protects privacy and confidentiality in police personnel investigations. Other officers have anonymously written letters to the Daily Breeze discussing Chief Matsuda's alleged misconduct. Chief Matsuda plans to return to his post once the suspension period is over.
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