Torrance Police Chief Mark Matsuda suspended for alleged anti-gay comments

Torrance Police Chief Mark Matsuda, the city’s first Asian-American to hold the post, has been suspended from his job until February 13. Photo: Torrance Police Department.

TORRANCE — Torrance Police Chief Mark Matsuda, the city’s first Asian-American to hold the post, has been suspended from his job until February 13 after members of the police department filed a personnel complaint alleging that Matsuda made hostile comments about gays, women, blacks and Muslims, the Daily Breeze reports.

In an interview with the Daily Breeze, Matsuda, 53, said he would return to his job after the suspension ends.

“Moving forward, as chief of the Torrance Police Department, I am committed to leading by example and demonstrating that strong relationships with the community start from strong relationships internally,” he said.

In the Daily Breeze interview, Matsuda declined to discuss the allegations made against him in the personnel complaint, saying he was “trying to pay respect to the process.”

Under California law known as the Peace Officers’ Bill of Rights, officers’ privacy is protected in police personnel investigations. Specific allegations, findings and discipline involved, if any, are all confidential.

Matsuda, who was sworn in as police chief in April 2014, leads a department with a $75 million budget. His total pay and benefits, as of 2015, is $411,347, according to Transparent California.

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About the author

Phillip Zonkel

Award-winning journalist Phillip Zonkel spent 17 years at Long Beach's Press-Telegram, where he was the first reporter in the paper's history to have a beat covering the city's vibrant LGBTQ. He also created and ran the popular and innovative LGBTQ news blog, Out in the 562.

He won two awards and received a nomination for his reporting on the local LGBT community, including a two-part investigation that exposed anti-gay bullying of local high school students and the school districts' failure to implement state mandated protections for LGBT students.