SA Police Officer Fired For Allegedly Giving Feces Sandwich To Homeless Man
The San Antonio Police Department HAS fired an officer for allegedly giving a sandwich full of feces to a homeless man. City leaders and homeless service providers are disgusted, but say the incident isn’t reflective of SAPD’s interactions with the homeless.
According to police, former officer Matthew Luckhurst bragged to another officer back in May that he’d picked up some feces, placed it in a Styrofoam container with a slice of bread, and set it beside an unidentified homeless man.
The officer reported the incident to supervisors two months later, in July.
SAPD Internal Affairs investigated and recommended indefinite suspension for Luckhurst. Chief William McManus met with Luckhurst last week and upheld that suspension.
“This was a vile and disgusting act that violates our guiding principles of 'treating all with integrity, compassion, fairness and repect,’" McManus said in a statement Friday. "The fact that his fellow officers were so disgusted with his actions that they reported him to Internal Affairs demonstrates that this type of behavior will never be tolerated."
Councilwoman Rebecca Villagran agrees. She chairs the Criminal Justice, Public Safety and Services Committee and was first briefed on the matter Thursday.
"Even if in jest or even in actuality, it’s deplorable behavior and does not at all reflect the city of San Antonio and how we are a compassionate city," Villagran said.
She points to SAPD’s IMPACT teams, which refer homeless people to services.
Art Vela is the Director of Life Safety at The Haven for Hope homeless shelter, which provides some of those services. He was also an SAPD officer for 10 years. He says he’s never heard of clients seeing this kind of cruelty from police, but harassment by the general public does happen.
"Unfortunately all human beings act differently and we have heard of some people that do try to prey on our homeless population."
The fired officer Luckhurst was a 5-year SAPD veteran who spent the last year on bike patrol downtown.
Luckhurst has hired an attorney, who claims the event in question did not happen.