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SAPD Chief’s Termination of Officer Matthew Luckhurst upheld

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Officer Matthew Luckhurst (SBG Photo)

On Friday, June 19, 2020, an arbitrator upheld San Antonio Police Chief William McManus’ second termination of former SAPD Officer Matthew Luckhurst. The former police officer was initially fired, or indefinitely suspended, for placing a feces sandwich in a food container and giving it to a homeless man. However, Luckhurst appealed to an arbitrator, and under a provision in the Collective Bargaining Agreement with police union, he was reinstated by claiming that the incident occurred more than 180 days before the suspension was issued.

Luckhurst received a second suspension for a separate incident when he purposely failed to flush feces in the toilet in the Downtown Bike Patrol women’s restroom. On the same occasion, he spread a brown tapioca-like substance on the toilet seat to give the appearance of feces. By his own admission, he took these actions because a female officer had placed a sign in the room requesting that it be kept clean. Hearing Examiner Thomas Cipolla found that Chief McManus’ decision to terminate Luckhurst’s employment was warranted due to the egregious nature of Luckhurst’s conduct aimed at women.

“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. “I am pleased that this is behind us, but the contract provision that gave him more chances than he deserved remains an obstacle to the Chief’s ability to discipline officers who fail to live up to SAPD’s standards.” “The vast majority of our officers respect their oaths to serve the community, and they resent it when individuals like Luckhurst discredit the badge,” said Chief McManus. “For both the department and the community, it was critically important that he not be allowed to have his job back. Although the limits imposed on me by the Collective Bargaining Agreement made firing him more difficult than it should have been, justice was finally served in this case.”

San Antonio: America’s 21st Century City
San Antonio is a global city with a dynamic economy and workforce, deep cultural heritage and diverse communities that are resilient and welcoming. It is one of the strongest fiscally managed cities in the country, nurturing entrepreneurship, encouraging investment and funding infrastructure. America’s seventh-largest city offers a vibrant business climate and growth opportunities in bioscience, financial services, aerospace, cyber security, energy, transportation, manufacturing and healthcare. In 2015, UNESCO designated San Antonio’s 18th century Spanish colonial missions as a World Heritage Site – the first in Texas. Proudly called Military City, USAR, San Antonio is home to one of the largest populations of active duty military, veterans and crucial military commands. For more information, visitwww.sanantonio.gov<http://www.sanantonio.gov>.

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Be Counted and Be Heard Comedy Show

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Be Counted and Be Heard Comedy Show to encourage African Americans in our community to get counted in the 2020 Census

The Dream Big Scholarship Fund, in collaboration with the San Antonio/Bexar County Complete Count Committee, will host the Be Counted and Be Heard Comedy Show this Sunday, Sept. 27, from 6 to 10 p.m. at the AT&T Center parking lot. The goal of the comedy show will be to encourage African American residents of San Antonio and Bexar County to respond to the 2020 Census before next week’s deadline on Sept. 30.   

“It’s imperative that the African American community understand the impact that they can make by letting their voices be heard and getting counted in the 2020 census is one way to be heard,” stated Michele Thomas founder of the Dream Big Scholarship Fund. 

The show’s program will be hosted by 25-year United States Army Combat veteran and aspiring gospel singer Thomas B. Bryant. The program  will feature “Funniest Person in South Texas” finalist, Comedian Clifton Simmons. Headlining the comedy show will be Comedian Marcus D. Wiley from the Yolanda Adams Morning Show. While providing entertainment, these trusted voices will share information about why completing the 2020 Census is important to our communities.   

Multiple organizations such as The 100 Black Men of San Antonio, Psi Alpha Chapter of Omega Psi Phi and Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc. have pledged their support and resources to the event to ensure a complete count of the community.

The open-air event will be held in Parking Lot 3 at the AT&T Center. To ensure physical distancing and prevent the spread of COVID-19, all activities will allow participants to stay in their vehicles. Attendees can enjoy the comedy show from the comfort and safety of their cars, as well as fill out the census form on their own mobile device or on tablets which volunteers will bring to each vehicle.  

The event will be live-streamed on Dream Big Scholarship Fund’s Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/dreambigscholarshipfund) and participants can complete the questionnaire at home and register to win gift card prizes. The census can be completed online at my2020census.gov or by calling 1.844.330.2020. Time is running out, be heard and get counted now!

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Sickle Cell Awareness Month

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September is National Sickle Cell Awareness Month, designated by Congress to help focus attention on the need for research and treatment of sickle cell disease.

SCD is a group of inherited red blood cell disorders. Healthy red blood cells are round, and they move through small blood vessels to carry oxygen to all parts of the body. In someone who has Sickle Cell Disease (SCD), the red blood cells become hard and sticky and look like a C-shaped farm tool called a “sickle”. The sickle cells die early, which causes a constant shortage of red blood cells. Also, when they travel through small blood vessels, they get stuck and clog the blood flow. This can cause pain and other serious problems such as infection, acute chest syndrome and stroke.

In the United States

The exact number of people living with SCD in the U.S. is unknown. Working with partners, the CDC supports projects to learn about the number of people living with SCD to better understand how the disease impacts their health.

It is estimated that:

  • SCD affects approximately 100,000 Americans.
  • SCD occurs among about 1 out of every 365 Black or African-American births.
  • SCD occurs among about 1 out of every 16,300 Hispanic-American births.
  • About 1 in 13 Black or African-American babies is born with sickle cell trait (SCT)

SCDAA’s theme for this year is Sickle Cell Matters. Sickle Cell Awareness Month Flyers, Myths & Facts Sheet, Calendar of Events as well as other vital information can be found by visiting https://www.sicklecelldisease.org/ People can share in awareness efforts or join SCDAA at one of the many great events to support sickle cell awareness!

Everyone is encouraged to be a part of this national effort to increase awareness about sickle cell disease and sickle cell trait during the month of September. Individuals and organizations can join the efforts to bring attention to sickle cell disease by engaging elected officials for proclamations, hosting awareness events, distributing educational information to dispel the myths about sickle cell disease, and lighting public spaces, buildings and landmarks red (burgundy)!

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Another Blow Dealt: Charges Not Directly Linked To Victim Breonna Taylor

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Residents of Louisville, Kentucky along with spectators across the world have waited for more than six months with anticipation for the verdict in the Breonna Taylor case. Anticipation has been boiling so much so that city and state officials began preparing days ago for uncertainty in the event that protests and riots could potentially break out once the verdict was read. The Kentucky National Guard and state police were called in and a 72-hour countywide curfew has been enacted. Once again there is further division, unrest, and lack of trust in another American city as clashes have already began to erupt in the streets of Louisville.

The verdict is in and the long-awaited grand jury charges are as follows. Only one former police officer, Brett Hankinson, was indicted on three felony counts of first-degree wanton endangerment. In a nutshell, the other two officers will face no charges and the charges Hankinson faces are not directly related to the wrongful death of Breonna Taylor, but rather his reckless action of “wantonly shooting a gun” into an apartment (not Breonna’s). First-degree wanton endangerment is a Class D felony, the lowest of four classes of felonies, the maximum sentence is five years; the minimum is one year.

Last week an announcement was made by the city of Louisville that a $12 million settlement had been reached with the family of Breonna Taylor. Continued prayers for the family of Breonna Taylor and the city of Louisville.

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