San Antonio, TX — “It was a disgusting, vile act — that, there is no excuse; there is no explaining it; there is no justification,” San Antonio Police Chief William McManus told KOMO News after the termination of an officer for, quite literally, giving a homeless man a shit sandwich.
“It’s a disgrace to the department, it’s a disgrace to the badge,” McManus continued.
In May, Officer Matthew Luckhurst inexplicably thought it would be humorous to place feces in between two slices of bread and offer it to a likely-starving homeless person in a styrofoam takeout box, and then boast of this ‘prank’ to his partner.
His partner, however, didn’t share the sentiment — and the pair of cops returned to the scene, where Luckhurst ostensibly disposed of the sickening, cruel offering.
According to the chief, news of Luckhurst’s shameful deed eventually wound its way up the chain of command — thanks to an unnamed officer’s tip to his supervisor — and internal affairs began an investigation in July.
Ultimately, two review boards — one sworn advisory panel and one comprised of civilians — both recommended Luckhurst be ‘indefinitely suspended.’ This week, McManus upheld that recommendation — and as his interview with KOMO evidences, disgust over Luckhurst’s puerile, disrespectful ‘joke’ is universal in the department.
“It’s embarrassing that someone would do something like that — ever do something like that,” the chief told KOMO, obviously fighting the desire to use stronger language.
Although McManus told the outlet the San Antonio Police Department has since endeavored to locate the unfortunate homeless victim, they have thus far been unsuccessful — but he did offer a decisive apology on air should that person perhaps see the interview.
In a prepared statement cited by MySanAntonio.com, the chief explained, “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. 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.”
McManus had not personally met the officer prior to this incident and investigation, but Luckhurst worked for the San Antonio department for five years, including his assignment to downtown bike patrol for the last year.
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“Firing this officer was the right thing to do,” Major Ivy Taylor asserted in a statement. “His actions were a betrayal of every value we have in our community, and he is not representative of our great police force.”
As the police chief noted in no uncertain terms, Luckhurst’s single, abominable act set the department’s achievements in reaching out to the homeless community back “100 steps.”
Luckhurst, who has already filed an appeal to be reinstated through arbitration, hired a private attorney and insists the allegations are unfounded.
“The chief’s allegations are not true,” attorney Ben Sifuentes told KOMO in a phone interview, adding, contrary to the officer’s own excuse-making, “It didn’t happen.”
Sifuentes and Luckhurst claim the matter was a ‘joke’ run horribly amok, and that no such, well, shit sandwich ever materialized, much less ended up next to a sleeping homeless person.
“I’m confident that in arbitration, we will prevail,” Sifuentes insisted, noting no recording of the incident exists, and the person allegedly receiving the depraved ‘gift’ has not come forward.
Asked whether Luckhurst explained his actions or gave any excuse for such contemptible behavior, McManus said that after attempts to wriggle out of taking responsibility, he was told, “It was a joke.”
“It’s an absolute disgrace,” he continued, “I can’t politely put it any more … strongly than that.”
Elaborating further about the department’s reaction to the fecal sandwich, McManus flatly state, “I can’t even say that we won’t tolerate that, because that sounds stupid.”
“That was something that should’ve never, ever happened,” he concluded, “and if I were to speak to that [homeless] individual, I would say I’m sorry that ever happened.”
Fortunately, Luckhurst will continue to be off the streets, stripped of his right to carry a gun and a badge, at least for the foreseeable future. Displaying a hapless, misguided, shameless, repugnant, and alarming lack of compassion should, after all, prevent any person from an occupation where humanity and compassion should be considered imperative.