A Texas officer who lost his job in 2016 for feeding dog feces to a homeless man has had his termination overturned following an appeal.
Officer Matthew Luckhurst, who appealed his suspension from Oct. 28, 2016, argued his termination from the San Antonio Police Department was unlawful as it did not take place within the first 180 days after the incident, reports KSAT.
Luckhurst, a bike patrol officer, initially stated that the incident occurred when he was on-duty on May 6, 2016. Luckhurst admitted to placing discarded pieces of dog feces between two bread slices in a food container. The officer then left the disguised faux meal next to a homeless man.
Lockhurst said he found the bread and feces along his patrolling route with another officer. In an attempt to clear the "no trespassing" area, the patrolman said he placed it nearby a non-complying transient man.
Luckurst said the unsuspecting man picked up the food container, smelled it and threw it on the ground. Following his fellow patrol officer's disapproval, the San Antonio officer then picked up the feces sandwich and disposed of it.
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Despite being indefinitely suspended on Oct. 28, 2016 for the foul incident, which would have been well within the 180 days, the officer sought through his medical records and determined that his initial date was incorrect. He cited an injury that kept him from being able to bike for the month of May.
Instead, Luckhurst says his records point to April 6 or June 14 for the incident, which would ultimately make his termination unlawful.
An arbitrator reviewed the documents from Luckhurst as well as the investigation and overturned Luckhurst's suspension.
The arbitrator also noted administrative issues with both internal affairs and San Antonio Police Sergeant Michael Riggs for their lack of attention to the case, adding that the incident should have been reviewed when it was reported in July 2016. They also stated that there could have been videotape preserved from the incident, but both parties failed to secure the footage.
The lack of physical evidence made it more difficult to determine a date for the incident.
Although Luckhurst was able to have this suspension overturned, it's reported that he has a second indefinite suspension awaiting appeal from June 2016. Reports claim he and another male officer are accused of intentionally defecating in the women's bike patrol office restroom, smearing brown contents over the toilet seat and leaving defecation in the stall.
"This has taught me to stop acting childish and making stupid baseless jokes," Dallas News reports Luckhurst wrote in a statement. "I need to stop the pranks and juvenile jokes to get arise (sic) or reaction from fellow officers and friends."
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