SAN ANTONIO – A San Antonio Police Department officer who admitted to giving a homeless man a feces sandwich will not return to the force after a third-party arbitrator on Friday refused to overturn his indefinite suspension for an unrelated feces incident.
Officer Matthew Luckhurst was terminated in 2016 after a department investigation determined that he placed feces in between slices of bread and gave it to a homeless man downtown while Luckhurst was on duty.
The officer was later given a second indefinite suspension after a separate investigation found that he failed to flush feces in a toilet and then spread a brown, tapioca-like substance on the seat at downtown bike patrol headquarters.
Luckhurst won his appeal for the feces sandwich incident in March 2019, after his legal representation was able to capitalize on a section of the local government code that prevents law enforcement agencies from disciplining an officer for conduct that occurred outside a 180-day window.
The arbitrator assigned to the toilet incident appeal, however, felt that SAPD Chief William McManus was justified in terminating Luckhurst because of the egregious nature of Luckhurst’s conduct aimed at women, according to a city press release announcing the decision Friday evening.
“This individual clearly has no business wearing an SAPD uniform, and it should never have been this hard to fire him,” said City Manager Erik Walsh. “I am pleased that this is behind us, but the contract provision that gave him more chances than he deserved remains an obstacle to the Chief’s ability to discipline officers who fail to live up to SAPD’s standards.”
Officials with the city and the San Antonio Police Officers Association are expected to begin negotiations on a new collective bargaining agreement early next year.
Protesters in San Antonio in recent weeks, following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody, have called on the city to reform or even defund its police department.
Luckhurst’s arbitration took place over several days earlier this year.
His attorney, Ben Sifuentes, argued that terminating Luckhurst for the prank was extreme and that a 2016 suspension of an SAPD officer for harassment of a female police explorer was a suitable baseline for this case.
Sifuentes did not respond to a request for comment Friday night.