A San Antonio police officer has been fired for smearing human feces on a sandwich and then giving it to a homeless person, the San Antonio Express-Tribune is reporting.
Officer Matthew Luckhurst, is a five-year-veteran of the San Antonio Police Department, who most recently had been in the city’s downtown bicycle patrol unit. He is now, however, on indefinite unpaid leave; in essence, fired, at least until his case can be ruled on by an arbitrator.
The incident happened back in May, according to KTSA (San Antonio), but the specifics are unclear. All that is known for certain, based on what has been released to the media as of this writing, is that Luckhurst smeared the poop on the bread, put the bread in a styrofoam container, and left it next to a homeless person, assuming the person would eat it.
It is not known if the putative victim ate any of the sandwich and/or got sick from it.
According to The Illinois Poison Center, eating a small amount of human feces is not likely to be toxic, but it certainly won’t be a pleasant experience, either. In rare cases, it can cause symptoms similar to food poisoning, including nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
The incident came to the attention of Luckhurst’s fellow officers in July when other officers began hearing about what Luckhurst had done. They reported him to the SAPD’s Internal Affairs division, which “thoroughly investigated” the incident and determined that it had, in fact, happened.
— blicqer™ (@blicqer) November 7, 2016
San Antonio City Councilwoman Shirley Gonzales, whose district includes a homeless shelter, described the officer’s actions as “horrible.”
“I think it’s horrible that people would prey on very vulnerable populations. It really is just so disappointing that one of our officers would prey on vulnerable populations. We are always working on behalf of those homeless people and Haven for Hope is still a place to go for any homeless person who needs resources.”
Similarly, Councilman Joe Krier pointed out that one bad cop’s actions do not represent the whole of the San Antonio Police Department.
“We have very few bad apples in a barrel full of outstanding police and fire. But it’s our job to get the bad apples out of the barrel as quickly as possible when they do bad things.”
SAPD Chief William McManus said that Luckhurst’s actions run contrary to the Department’s principles.
“This was a vile and disgusting act that violates our guiding principles of treating all with integrity, compassion, fairness and respect.”
And in a statement via The Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, San Antonio Mayor Ivy Taylor called Luckhurst’s actions “a betrayal.”
“Firing this officer was the right thing to do. His actions were a betrayal of every value we have in our community, and he is not representative of our great police force.”
Luckhurst’s attorney Ben Sifuuentes, however, says that his client had simply joked about giving the sandwich to the homeless person, but that the joke “spiraled out of control” and made Luckhurst a target of “unfair persecution.”
Meanwhile, Luckhurst is still attempting to get his old job back. Mike Helle, president of Luckhurst’s union, the San Antonio Police Officers Association, said that terminated employees do not get union representation. Instead, his privately-hired attorney will represent him as he takes his case to arbitration. As of this writing, it is not clear when or if that will take place.
[Featured Image by Dmytro Zinkevych/Shutterstock]