DALLAS — Two Dallas business owners have had each other trespassed from their properties following a dispute involving a Facebook post and accusations of harassment and intimidation.
One party to the dispute, Dallas resident and business owner Tyrone Jones, spoke of his concerns about the matter at Monday’s Dallas City Council meeting. It involved the husband of City Councilor Jackie Lawson.
“The reason I’m on here tonight is the last time I showed up, Jackie Lawson’s husband went to my business and intimidated my employees,” Jones said. “It is absolutely ridiculous that the citizens of Dallas have to be scared of the city council.”
He is referencing an incident that occurred on Jan. 20, in which the manager of a store operated by his his wife, Angie Jones and son Jayden Jones, called police after a man was seen taping papers to the window of the store, Pets Unleashed.
“The complainant, Joshua Alvarez, said about 15 minutes ago, an unknown subject taped papers to the business windows,” Alvarez told police, according the Dallas Police report of the incident. “Alvarez told dispatch the paper contained Facebook posts that appeared to wish harm to the business and staff members.”
The post was authored by Crystal Hayter, and it was about a recently opened restaurant and bar owned by the Lawsons.
According to the report, the post read: “Heres the thing, the same people up in arms about wanting to open for their own business sake are the same people who claim ‘you’ll never see me wear a mask’ because they don’t give a crap about anyone but themselves. Do what we have to do to safely open. But since she only did this selfishly and not for the rest of her community I hope her business fails and her employees all catch covid.”
The person who posted the screenshots at Pets Unleashed was David Lawson, the DPD report said.
Alvarez told police Lawson’s behavior was concerning to his employees.
“Alvarez said the subject appeared to ‘stalk’ the parking lot to the business by driving through the parking lot,” the report said. “Alvarez said his female employees in the store were freaking out because the subject drove through the parking lot.”
According to the report, Jones called Lawson who told him that he believed Hayter was an employee of Pets Unleashed and taped the papers to the doors to bring the post to her employer’s attention.
“Dave said he drove by Pets Unleashed earlier today to see if he could see Hayter working, but he didn’t see her,” the report read. “Dave said he then texted Tyrone and said they needed to stop doing this.”
Hayter is not an employee of store, but had helped Jayden son make videos promoting Pets Unleashed. Jones said Lawson could have called him about the post, not go to the business, the report said.
Jones, who is Black, said most people in Dallas has been kind and welcoming. He’s participated in a discussion group, the Dallas Community Collaboration Panel, described as “a partnership of individuals in our community representing a board spectrum of interests and perspectives who have engaged with each other to address social justice and equity issues being raised in the Dallas community.”
Jackie and David Lawson, Dallas Police Chief Tom Simpson, City Manager Brian Latta, and Polk County Sheriff Mark Garton are also among those on the panel. The group began meeting after protests calling for racial justice erupted last summer. The group has since disbanded, according to the police report.
Jones said the incident occurred because the Lawsons disagreed with something Jones said at a meeting. The report said the comment posted at the store was two months old.
Jones said as it involved the spouse of a city councilor, it equated to the city harassing his family and employees.
“When does this stop? When do you guys stop intimidating the people who disagree with you?” Jones said Monday.
Jackie Lawson was absent from Monday’s meeting. A request for comment on Jones’ statements was not returned by press time.
No charges were filed in the case, according to the report, but Lawson had Jones and his wife trespassed from their home and businesses, World Gym, World Gym Athletics and Quench. Jones had Jackie and David Lawson trespassed from his home and business, Pets Unleashed.
Jones said he felt that city officials were not concerned or willing to talk about what happened.
“I’m upset and I’m dead scared of you guys,” Jones said. “I’m dead scared that you guys will come after my family because I disagreed and I stood up. That’s why I kept my mouth shut, but you know what? You came after my family anyways even though I didn’t do anything. I didn’t say anything.”
Mayor Brian Dalton said that city officials are willing to meet with Jones to work through the issues.
“Thank you, Tyrone you are welcome to come back in the next two weeks, or to make an appointment with us,” Dalton said.