Food Truck Driver Says Cop Hassled Him

Categories: Spaced City

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An HPD officer allegedly threatened a food truck over what the food truck owner says are nonexistent "violations."
UPDATE: HPD's public information office called to say that, as of 2 p.m., "no complaint has been filed. No one by that name has filed an [Internal Affairs Division] complaint," the liaison stated.

An encounter with the Houston Police Department has left a local food truck owner unsure if he wants to continue operating his truck anymore, he said.

Around 8:30 last night, Joshua Martinez was in the middle of a routine dinner service, dishing up food from his bright silver truck, The Modular.

When red and blue lights lit up the parking lot at Liberty Station, Martinez poked his head out of the truck to see what was going on and was surprised to find out the reason for the commotion: The cruiser was there for him. An HPD officer walked up to the food truck and told Martinez that The Modular was in violation, he said.

Martinez was baffled. After all, he stated, "HPD has no jurisdiction over food trucks." The City of Houston's Health Department does, but that didn't deter the officer.

"He told me, 'You're supposed to move every 59 minutes. You're a mobile food truck,'" Martinez said, recalling the conversation 15 minutes after it happened last night. He spoke from the parking lot outside his food truck, which was parked on private property. "I showed him my licenses, explained that we are supposed to move every 24 hours and go back to our commissary."

"He didn't listen," Martinez said of the HPD officer. "He just kept saying, 'You're in violation. I can give you up to $6,000 in tickets.'" The staggering amount of the figure made Martinez freeze. "If I violated every health department violation there was, it wouldn't be $6,000!"

Martinez plans to file a formal complaint with the Houston Police Department. When reached today, HPD had no comment on the incident because a complaint had not yet been filed.

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Photo courtesy of Facebook
Martinez at work in The Modular.
The HPD officer asked to see Martinez's ID, and he admitted that he was reluctant to provide his ID to the officer: "At the age of 17, I was a rat bastard kid and I did stuff that I'm not proud of." After providing his driver's license, Martinez said, the officer became even more hostile, insinuating that a $6,000 fine would be enough to permanently close down The Modular.

"And then I asked him, 'Who are you? What is your name?'" The officer's badge and nameplate were both covered by a reflective vest, according to Martinez.

Martinez says the officer's response was succinct: "'It doesn't matter what my name is, you're the one in violation.'" Martinez finally wrote down the license plate number of the HPD cruiser.

"You food trucks are a nuisance to the city," the officer reportedly said, before leaving without dispensing any tickets. No active incidents were reported at that address any time yesterday evening, according to the HPD's Active Incidents Report.


Tags:

cops, Food

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9 comments
Jkubica2001
Jkubica2001

Starting with Bill Whites administration and continuing with Mayor Parker's administration, the City of Houston has become very unfriendly to small business like mobile restaurants - and very friendly and helpful to big business - like the new Kroger's store.

Our leaders need to understand that "little people" starting and owning their own business are important too.

I hope our Chief of police is now in the process of investigating this incident and taking whatever corrective action is needed

Borderwatch
Borderwatch

In the first picture he is already violating safe food handling by not wearing a hat or other head cover,gloves and a beard hair net..... maybe he needs to take a refresher class on safe food handling 101.

ismellbacon
ismellbacon

what a crock of Sh*t, i hope somebody finds out who that pig is and educate him.he is obviously bored, and bummed out its not a doughnut truckseriously somebody find out who that pig is and file complaint pleasefood trucks are great and better than most restaurants please piggy find something else better to do with your time

Copa
Copa

"If I violated every health department violation there was, it wouldn't be $6,000!"

Really? I find that somewhat disturbing.

Flash
Flash

The government not leaving us alone.

Craigley
Craigley

Thanks, Marvin!  I bet he also has slime in his ice machine.  

Doobiedoobiedoo
Doobiedoobiedoo

The Health Department can shut him down on the spot, which could cost him revenue, fines, and food.  All together, this could be more than $6,000 depending on how much business he does and what his margins are.

Jkubica2001
Jkubica2001

The point is that the cop was just trying to intimidate the business owner to drive him away - and the fact that he didn't have a real violation to write a ticket on - proves that he was just being a SH*THEAD!

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