ODESSA, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – While a salon owner in Dallas is getting support from state leaders for reopening her business despite coronavirus stay at home orders, a SWAT team was called out to a demonstration supporting a defiant bar owner in West Texas.
What was supposed to be a “peaceful” demonstration quickly took a wrong turn at Big Daddy Zane’s, a bar in Odessa.
Several Ector County Sheriff’s Office deputies and Texas State Troopers drove their vehicles, including an armored personnel carrier, near the bar and pointed guns at armed protesters as they gave orders for them to put their hands in the air.
Bar owner Gabrielle Ellison opened her doors despite Governor Greg Abbott’s executive order. A risk she says she understands all too well, but it boils down to feeding her family.
“We can’t take it no more, we’re not going to make it,” said Ellison. “I am aware of what’s going on down the road. I am shocked. I had customers come through saying, ‘You know they have SWAT built up, they have SWAT built up.’ Why would you bring in SWAT on a peaceful situation?”
Ellison said the risk of staying closed outweighs the risk of any virus. Even if it means potentially getting in trouble with law enforcement.
The bar owner says she spoke with the Sheriff’s Office prior to the protest and that they told her everything would be fine as long as men with guns are not seen on the property. Out of respect for law enforcement, she says she confined the men to an area in the back, which is her private property.
According to the Odessa American, six men carrying assault rifles were arrested and charged with felony unlawfully carrying a weapon on a licensed premise and a bystander was arrested for interfering with the duties of a peace officer.
Ellison was arrested and charged with violation of emergency management plan. She was later released on a $500 bond.