It’s a story as old as time: A police officer does something very, very bad, resigns or gets fired, then in no time, they’re back on the streets with a badge and a gun, just a few towns over. One of the latest and most disturbing examples of this phenomenon is the curious case of Matthew Luckhurst, a former bike patrol cop in Charles Barkley’s favorite city: San Antonio, Texas. In 2016, he gave an unhoused person a sandwich with feces in it, and after a long arduous process, he was fired. Now he’s employed by the Floresville Police Department.
In what world does it make any sense that a man who would give a sandwich filled with s**t to a stranger, and fight the consequences of these actions, fit to “protect and serve”?
One of the wilder aspects of Luckhurst’s case is that he technically didn’t lose his job because he gave an unhoused woman that disgusting sandwich, but was indefinitely suspended for a separate incident involving fecal matter. Just a month after that occurred, Luckhurst went inside the SAPD’s Bike Patrol office’s women’s restroom, defecated, and “spread a brown substance with the consistency of tapioca on the toilet seat, giving the appearance that there was feces on the seat.”
Luckhurst received indefinite suspensions for both of these actions, but thanks to a local law that state officers cannot face punishment for conduct after 180 days, he appealed. In March 2019, he was reinstated. The independent arbitrator in the second, “tapioca” incident, however, did the right thing and permanently stripped this vile human being of his badge. “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 said at the time.
San Antonio Express-News reported that Luckhurst was hired in Floresville as a reserve officer five months after he was fired from San Antonio’s department. Reserve officers have different roles and authority in different cities, so it remains to be seen what exactly Luckhurst is doing. (Neither he nor the Floresville Police Chief Lorenzo Herrera responded to the newspaper’s repeated requests for comments.)
According to the San Antonio Express-News, in the last five years, police agencies in Texas have issued 2,621 dishonorable discharges, and only 14 of those have had their peace officer licenses revoked. This is a startling example of the sweeping privilege cops have and the immunity they have to break the law they’re supposed to uphold. This is a system that allows people to carry guns and have oversight over your freedom after they do something as evil as give a woman in a vulnerable state a sandwich full of feces. I don’t know how you can reform that.