Police officer Matthew Luckhurst was fired by after it was reported to the San Antonio Police Department that he attempted to feed a homeless man a "fecal sandwich"—human feces between two pieces of bread—in May.
In a statement, San Antonio Police Chief William McManus said that Luckhurst bragged about doing so to a fellow officer; an unnamed officer (he doesn't specify if it's the same one) then reported Luckhurst, a five-year veteran of the department, to its internal affairs unit in July.
Two separate review boards recommended indefinite suspension—firing—for Luckhurst, decisions that were upheld by Chief McManus on Friday.
“This was a vile and disgusting act that violates our guiding principles of 'treating all with integrity, compassion, fairness and respect,'" McManus said in a statement. "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." Luckhurst's attorney denied the incident ever happening to the San Antonio Express-News.
“Firing this officer was the right thing to do,” San Antonio Mayor Ivy Taylor said. “His actions were a betrayal of every value we have in our community, and he is not representative of our great police force.”
Even the local police union wouldn't stand up for the officer. “He’s on his own right now,” San Antonio Police Officer Association president Mike Helle told the Express-News. “It’s his conduct and behavior he had to answer for. The chief took the necessary action he thought he had to take," explaining that Luckhurst does not have the representation of the union now that he's been fired.
As pointed out by the San Antonio Current, this incident comes at a time of particularly high tensions between San Antonio city officials and the city's homeless population. Last year, McManus set up a "homeless outreach team" that was largely met with distrust by the city's homeless. This came after a change in city policy that saw police issuing thousands of tickets to homeless people.
"I don't think this is reflective of department, at least I hope not," Joan Cheever, whose food truck was fined $2,000 for feeding homeless people last year (the fine was later dismissed), told the Current. "But we were supposed to be building bridges. … Today that bridge just exploded. There’s just no trust left. Or it’s going to be a while before we rebuild."
Sam Stecklow is the Weekend Editor for Fusion.