San Antonio's 'shit sandwich cop' working as a police officer again, this time in Floresville

Officer Matthew Luckhurst's rehiring was the centerpiece of an investigation into Texas' lax and fragmented oversight of police licensing.

click to enlarge Matthew Luckhurst was twice fired by the San Antonio police department, only to be hired as a cop in Floresville. - San Antonio Police Department
San Antonio Police Department
Matthew Luckhurst was twice fired by the San Antonio police department, only to be hired as a cop in Floresville.
Matthew Luckhurst, the now-former San Antonio police officer who drew international outrage for trying to give a sandwich filled with dog shit to a homeless man, is once again working as a cop, the Express-News reports.

In an investigation looking at how lax and fragmented state oversight enables problem police officers to seek jobs with other departments, the daily revealed that Luckhurst was hired as a reserve officer on the Floresville Police Department five months after he was last terminated from SAPD.

It's unclear how Luckhurst's current job duties differ from those of regular cops in Floresville, a town 30 minutes southeast of San Antonio, since neither the department nor the officer himself responded to the paper's inquiries.

Even so, a position as a reserve cop in Texas allows Luckhurst the "same legal authority as any law enforcement officer," according to the Express-News.

In case anyone needs a refresher, Luckhurst drew international headlines after he gave a homeless man the feces sandwich. SAPD fired Luckhurst, then a bike officer, over the incident. However, a third-party arbitrator returned him to the force three years later.

Luckhurst was terminated a second time after a separate investigation found that he left an unflushed turd in a women's restroom at a downtown police station and smeared a brown substance on the the toilet seat after a female officer requested that staff keep the restroom clean. 

In 2020, an arbitrator upheld the second firing. Even so, the incidents were an embarrassment for SAPD and bolstered activists' demands that San Antonio revise its police contract to give arbitrators less power — something city council ultimately did.

By some estimates, two-thirds of fired SA cops were allowed to return to their jobs under the old union contract's arbitration clause.

The Express-News' investigation of fired officers' ability to find new work in other cities draws heavily on a recent study by Texas' Sunset Advisory Commission. The commission examined the effectiveness of the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement, the agency that oversees licensing of police and jailers.

“The state’s regulation of law enforcement personnel and agencies is, by and large, toothless,” the Sunset Advisory Commission concluded.

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Sanford Nowlin

Sanford Nowlin is editor-in-chief of the San Antonio Current.


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