San Antonio bicycle patrol officer Matthew Luckhurst, who was fired in 2016, had his dismissal overturned by an arbitrator earlier this month.
Luckhurst and his attorney argued San Antonio brass didn’t have the authority to fire him due to a local law, which prevents law enforcement from disciplining an officer for conduct that occurred more than 180 days before they are disciplined.
“The indefinite suspension is overturned due to the violation of the 180-days prohibition,” the arbitrator wrote in his decision, according to KSAT.
While Luckhurst won this appeal, he still has to overcome being fired for a separate, feces-related incident in December 2016 while he was suspended indefinitely after the sandwich ordeal, but that appeal is also pending.
Luckhurst testified the first incident took place on May 6, 2016 when he and two other bike patrol officers were clearing transients from a parking lot.
As the officers ordered people to leave the parking lot, which was marked with “no trespassing” signs, Luckhurst stated he observed dog feces, vomit, condoms, personal hygiene products and discarded slices of bread.
Luckhurst claims he then picked up the dog feces with the slices of bread so he wouldn’t step on it.
He then placed the dog feces wrapped in bread inside of a food container nearby, which he testified he viewed as trash.
Luckhurst said he left the food container “in close proximity” to a homeless man who didn’t vacate the area and that the man threw the container on the ground after picking it up and smelling it.
“You can’t be doing that. You have to go pick that up,” one of the bike patrol officers with Luckhurst told him, according to arbitration documents.
The same officer told authorities that Luckhurst later returned to the area on his police bicycle and disposed of the container.
On October 28, 2016, Luckhurst was notified about his dismissal.
According to arbitration documents, Luckhurst claims to have later reviewed his medical records and determined the incident couldn’t have occurred on May 6, 2016, because he had suffered an injury during martial arts class and was working light duty from April 6, 2016 to June 14, 2016, which he claimed prevented him from riding a bike as his fellow officers had testified.
The documents state it was then determined it was possible the incident could have occurred outside the 180-day time limit to discipline Luckhurst since witnesses all gave varying dates as to when the incident occurred.
The second incident
In the second incident, which we reported about in January 2017, documents say Luckhurst and another San Antonio police officer defecated inside the women’s restroom at the bicycle patrol office and purposely did not flush the toilet.
Luckhurst, along with the other officer, then smeared a brown substance on the toilet seat, “giving the appearance that there was fecal matter on the seat,” Luckhurst’s disciplinary report states.
“Officer Luckhurst and the other officer also obtained a brown substance with the consistency of tapioca and spread it on the seat,” according to the documents.
“Officer Luckhurst then boasted of these actions to fellow officers. This inappropriate behavior was done after a female officer requested the women’s restroom be kept clean.’
The arbitrator stated even though Luckhurst’s firing was overturned that the punishment was “reasonable based on just cause for Luckhurst’s action whether intentionally or grossly inappropriate, regarding the fecal sandwich being placed in a container close to a homeless person.”
It’s not yet clear when proceedings will take place regarding Luckhurst’s indefinite dismissal for the second poop prank.