SAN ANTONIO – Newly released documents detail the investigation of a San Antonio police officer who was indefinitely suspended after he was accused of giving a homeless man a feces sandwich. The documents reveal the officer admitted to his peers and investigators that he did it.
In an interview with the department's Internal Affairs investigator, Officer Matthew Luckhurst said back in May, he was on bike patrol with two other officers on I-35 near Houston St. The officers were tasked with getting homeless people to move out of the overpass, which is a regular camp for homeless.
Luckhurst said "I noticed what I thought was dog feces close to my bike and feet...I saw a discarded (slice) of bread and used the bread to grab the feces. I then placed the feces inside a discarded food container close by."
There were other containers with prepared meals for the homeless. Luckhurst said he told the homeless to pick them up.
"It was not my intention for the feces to appear as food. I viewed the food container as trash" and he "believed he could get the (homeless) male to pick up the feces if I placed (it) into the food container without him knowing its contents. I believe (sic) he would throw it away on his own. (In) hindsight, I should have just thrown it away myself," Luckhurst said.
Luckhurst told the two officers he was with what he had done. One of them asked Luckhurst if he was kidding, then told investigators he told Luckhurst to "pick it up and throw it away." He said Luckhurst did.
Neither officer reported the incident to a supervisor. One said "I had not seen anybody eat anything or making any indication that he/she had eaten feces, I thought the matter was over and continued on with my duties." The other said Luckhurst "is known to be a prankster" and "if I had observed Officer Luckhurst do what he had done, I would have immediately stopped him and told him you cannot be doing these types of jokes or pranks and that I would have to report him."
It wasn't until the end of July that supervisors learned of the incident. Officers said Luckhurst told them what he had done. Some said Luckhurst told them the man had taken a bite of the feces. Some said they heard Luckhurst used his own feces in the incident. Most said they thought it was another of Luckhurst's jokes.
Officers said when Luckhurst described what happened, they thought the story was "unbelievable," "disgusting" and "ridiculous."
"I didn't put any other thought after I heard the story from Matt as I know he has a odd sense of humor and I would not think in a million years that he would actually conduct such an act on another person. He even later told me that he was just joking around," one officer said.
When supervisors addressed the issue at a roll call with other bike officers, one officer was shocked and asked "Who did that?"
The documents said at least five officers heard Luckhurst say, "It was me, I did it."
One officer described Luckhurst's apology as "heartfelt."
In his interview with investigators, Luckhurst said he took full responsibility and "tried to dispel the false portions of this incident."
"What really happened is that this small incident became a bigger story of its own due to my exaggeration and the rumor mill among the officers the incident became worse and worse as time passed. The story eventually even got back to me that I had forced (sic) fed this individual a "(feces) sandwich" which is completely untrue. I would never do something like that," Luckhurst said.
Luckhurst also addressed the "prankster" reputation he has among the officers.
"This has taught me to stop acting childish and making stupid baseless jokes. I need to stop the pranks and juvenile jokes to get a rise or reaction from fellow officers and friends," he said.
Luckhurst is also accused of failing to arrest a wanted person he contacted in July.
Luckhurst received an indefinite suspension in October. His attorney has filed a request for arbitration in an attempt to get his job back.
"Officer Luckhurst specifically and generally, singularly and plurally, denies the truth of the charges against him. The charges are legally insufficient to support the position of any penalty or punishment and legally insufficient to support a conclusion that (Luckhurst) was guilty as charged in the charging instrument," his attorney, Karl E. Brehm, wrote.