Matthew Luckhurst, a San Antonio Police Department (SAPD) officer who had been on the force for five years, reportedly placed fecal matter between two pieces of bread and gave it to a homeless person.
“This was a vile and disgusting act that violates our guiding principles of ‘treating all with integrity’, compassion, fairness and respect,” SAPD Chief William McManus said in a statement.
“The fact that his fellow officers were so disgusted with his actions that they reported him to Internal Affairs demonstrates that this type of behavior will never be tolerated. The action of this one former officer in no way reflects the actions of all the other good men and women who respectfully serve this community,” he was quoted as saying by San Antonio Express-News.
The alleged incident occurred in May, when Officer Luckhurst bragged to a fellow officer that “he had picked up some feces, placed it in a slice of bread, and put it in a Styrofoam container next to the unknown homeless male”, a statement from the police chief’s office said.
“The officer reported that he told Luckhurst to go back and throw it away. The officer said he saw Luckhurst go back and he assumed that Luckhurst discarded the container,” it said.
The incident was reported to Internal Affairs in July. Police Department officials have been unable to locate the homeless man.
“Firing this officer was the right thing to do,” Mayor Ivy Taylor was quoted as saying.
Ben Sifuentes, Luckhurst’s attorney, said his client joked about giving an excrement sandwich to a homeless person but never actually did so.
A majority of the footage was captured in August and September, as restaurant employees left Restaurant Depot in the 3300 block of Fredericksburg Rd.
Two large banners hang outside of Restaurant Depot, imploring customers to ‘Keep it Kool’.
Some of the footage appears to show delivery practices which violate city and state health codes.
The Texas Food Establishment Rules require transported meat to remain at 41 degrees or less in order to keep it out of the so-called ‘food danger zone’, a
temperature range from 41 degrees to 140 degrees that allows harmful bacteria to grow most rapidly.
Foodborne organisms, which can cause food poisoning, grow at the fastest rate between 70 degrees and 117 degrees.
“Any boxed meat or anything like that, you would want to keep in some kind of cooler, with some kind of cooling media, dry ice, wet ice or frozen ice packs,” said Stephen Barscewski, Sanitarian Services Manager for San Antonio Metropolitan Health.
Barscewski analyzed some of the footage captured by the I-Team, pointing out instances that would likely result in health inspectors issuing the restaurants citations.
August 28, the I-Team captured footage of the owner of Daddy’s Burgers and More loading raw chicken into the trunk of a car, with the help of a Restaurant Depot employee. We followed the car as it made its way to the restaurant’s Stone Oak location. From start to finish, the trip took 30 minutes. It was 98 degrees outside.
“You have risk there,” said Barscewski as he watched footage of the incident. He added that salad greens loaded with the chicken created additional concerns about cross-contamination.
“There’s a possibility of blood from the meat or blood from the chicken getting on your onions, celery, bag salad.”
Daddy’s owner Ruben Perales refused our requests for an on-camera interview for this story. Over the phone he admitted to the I-Team he failed to refrigerate the chicken when leaving Restaurant Depot. It is important to note, city health records show Daddy’s Burgers and More had perfect scores during its last three inspections, and no complaints of customers getting sick. Perales said he has now purchased thermal packaging to use when transporting chicken to his restaurant.
Restaurant inspections really are only a snapshot in time.
WOIA News 4 reports that Goro’s Sushi was served 25 demerits on its latest health inspection. 30 is considered a poor score by the health department. But rats and roaches are a big problem.
Goro’s owner, Mike Luna, did not want to be on camera. Trouble Shooter Mireya Villarreal tried to ask about the restaurant’s inspection report. But all the owner would say is, it wasn’t a good time and our crew needed to leave.
Goro’s later sent News 4 WOAI a statement saying they immediately called their pest control company and thoroughly cleaned the restaurant once they were notified of the problems.
An inspector recently followed up with the restaurant. While the report noted improvements, it also asked management to keep monitoring their rodent activity.
The permit costs about $230 a year. It also means the store is subject to regular health inspections.
Owner Rosemary Benitez said,
"Everything is sold as novelty. Everything in the box says ‘novelty item’ only… It’s not something you sit down and actually eat. It’s more for licking and tasting. Edible? No. It’s not going to fill you up."
San Antonio’s Sanitarian Services Manager, Stephen Barschewski, said,
Any facility in the city of San Antonio that sells edible substance requires a food establishment permit. One, it’s the law. Two, in case there’s a recall, we certainly want to know the source."