SAPD Chief William McManus defends decision to fire officer involved in feces ‘prank’
Officer Matthew Luckhurst fighting for job back in arbitration
SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio police chief testified Wednesday that he stands behind his decision to fire an officer for playing a “prank” involving excrement, calling the behavior “vile and disgusting.”
It was the third day of Officer Matthew Luckhurst’s arbitration, where Luckhurst is fighting to get reinstated. Police Chief William McManus was called as a witness Wednesday.
McManus stated that he doesn’t think Luckhurst deserves to come back to the police department.
The incident happened in June 2016, according to city documents. Luckhurst and another officer defecated in a woman’s restroom at the downtown bike patrol office. Luckhurst then covered the seat with a brown food substance to give the appearance there was fecal matter on it.
Earlier this week, the city attorney argued that the prank “harassed, intimidated and degraded” fellow female officers.
However, today Luckhurst attorney Ben Sifuentes grilled Chief McManus on other bike patrol statements that suggested what happened was widely recognized as “just a joke.”
Sifuentes brought up other incidents of harassment where he said the discipline was not termination.
One example Sifuentes mentioned was the 2016 incident involving Officer Jody Gonzales.
Gonzales was found to have inappropriately touched a 21-year-old female “police explorer” during a ‘ride-along’ and received a 10-day suspension under McManus.
Sifuentes also mentioned an incident where he said an SAPD police captain had a penis engraved on a gun for another male officer.
He claimed that despite complaints from female officers, the captain was not disciplined.
This is officer Luckhurst’s second indefinite suspension.
His first firing stemmed from an infamous incident that also happened in 2016 where the officer gave a homeless man a sandwich made of dog feces. He was subsequently fired but won reinstatement last year through a previous arbitration hearing.
In the second day of this week’s proceeding, Luckhurst took total responsibility for what happened at Bike Patrol Headquarters.
“In hindsight, it was immature”, he said.
SAPD Officer Jessica Medrano also this week testified about finding the feces and becoming nauseous. She was eight-and-a-half months pregnant at the time.
“I had a lot of nausea during my pregnancy. As soon as I smelt it I wanted to vomit. I was gagging,” said Medrano.
She testified that she was “mad and disgusted" over the incident and said she would never work with Luckhurst again.
Arbitration for Luckhurst is tentatively scheduled to run through Thursday.
Copyright 2020 by KSAT - All rights reserved.