San Antonio Police Department documents released Tuesday suggest an officer admitted to having left a sandwich containing feces inside a well-known homeless camp.
Officer Matthew Luckhurst was the subject of an internal affairs investigation after his supervisors learned he had placed feces inside a slice of bread, then left the “sandwich” inside a Styrofoam container along with other meals prepared for the homeless.
“I noticed what I thought was dog feces close to my bike and feet,” Officer Luckhurst said during his internal affairs investigation, in documents obtained by multiple local news outlets, including KSAT News and the San Antonio News Express.
According to the San Antonio Police Department, Luckhurst, a bike patrol officer, was patrolling a city parking lot underneath the I-35 overpass along with two other officers in May when the alleged incident took place.
Luckhurst joked to the two officers about what he had done. They urged him to throw away the sandwich, which he claims he did.
He later told internal affairs investigators he had left the container near a homeless man with the belief he would assume it was garbage, not food, and would dispose of it.
“It was not my intention for the feces to appear as food,” Luckhurst wrote in his response. “I viewed the food container as trash and believed he would, too.”
The identity of the homeless man, and whether or not he actually consumed any of the sandwich, is not known at this time.
The incident came to light during a roll call for bike patrol officers several weeks later, during which Luckhurst allegedly admitted what he had done, apologized, and took full responsibility.
“What really happened is that this small incident became a bigger story of its own. Due to my exaggeration and the rumour mill among the officers, the incident became worse and worse as time passed,” Luckhurst told internal affairs investigators.
The internal affairs investigation concluded in early October with police and civilian review boards both recommending Luckhurst’s indefinite suspension.
“This was a vile and disgusting act that violates our guiding principles of ‘treating all with integrity, compassion, fairness and respect,’” San Antonio Police Chief William McManus said in a statement when Luckhurst was suspended.
“The fact that his fellow officers were so disgusted with his actions that they reported him to internal affairs demonstrates that this type of behaviour will never be tolerated. The action of this one former officer in no way reflects the actions of all the other good men and women who respectfully serve this community.”
Luckhurst plans to appeal his suspension before an independent arbitrator.
“The officer and his representation will make the case for an officer, and the city attorney will make the case for the police chief and the city,” Sgt. Jesse Salame explained to KENS5 News.
For his part, Luckhurst told investigators that his own willingness to pull pranks and embellish stories is what has landed him in hot water.
“This has taught me to stop acting childish and making stupid baseless jokes,” Luckhurst said, according to internal affairs documents.
“I need to stop the pranks and juvenile jokes to get a rise or reaction from fellow officers and friends.”