A San Antonio police officer has been fired for allegedly having “picked up some feces, placed it in a slice of bread, and put it in a Styrofoam container next to [an] unknown homeless male.”
The officer, Matthew Luckhurst, was a five-year veteran of the force at the time of the incident, reports San Antonio Express-News. A press release from the Chief’s office alleges that Luckhurst bragged to a fellow officer about giving a homeless man a feces sandwich.
The officer told Luckhurst to go back and throw it in the trash. He saw Luckhurst return to the scene, and assumed that he discarded the container.
Luckhurst’s attorney, Ben Sifuentes, says that it was a joke that went too far, and called the charges against his client unfair.
“It didn’t happen,” Sifuentes said, adding that there were no eyewitnesses or video evidence, and no statement from the homeless person.
Dallas News reports that Mayor Ivy Taylor said 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.”
The relationship between the San Antonio police and the local homeless population has been strained, according to the San Antonio Current. Last year, Chief William McManus created a homeless outreach team within the San Antonio Police Department, which would connect the indigent with social services, temporary housing, and drug treatment.
But nearly half of those approached in the first six months of the program refused the outreach team’s assistance, and 17 percent of outreach stops resulted in the homeless person being detained.
The attempt to build trust between the homeless and the police came after the city drew international attention last year by fining Joan Cheever $2,000 for feeding homeless people out of her food truck, the Chow Train.
I don’t think this is reflective of the department, at least I hope not,” Cheever said. “But we’re 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.”
Sources: San Antonio Express-News, Dallas News