Harris County deputy constable parked illegally in handicapped spot?

By Bill Spencer - Investigative Reporter

CYPRESS, Texas - A photograph sent to Local 2 News via Facebook clearly shows a Harris County Precinct 4 deputy constable's car parked in a handicapped space outside a Wendy's restaurant in Cypress.

That picture is drawing outrage now.

"He thought that he had different privileges than we had," said Jackie Kinchoff.

"They're breaking the law that they should be enforcing," says Mark Irwin.

The picture is especially troubling for James Van Winkle, a Conroe man who broke his neck in 1995 and has been confined to a wheelchair and unable to walk ever since.

"It's upsetting when we see people who are supposed to be protecting us abusing the law," said Van Winkle.

For almost 20 years, he has been a member of ADAPT, a national grassroots disability rights group. During that time Van Winkle has lobbied and protested to strengthen the rights of the physically challenged in this country. He finds what this officer did appalling.

"Everybody is supposed to be considered equal, but when people park in our spots, that takes our equal out of it," she said.

As for the deputy constable who parked in that handicapped spot, he's in trouble with his department.

In a statement released to Local 2 Investigates, Precinct 4 Deputy Chief Mark Herman writes, "The public's perception of our department is of the utmost importance. In this particular incident, our employee exercised poor judgment. Once this matter was brought to our attention, our agency conducted an investigation and corrective action has been taken on the employee."

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