DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Some downtown Dallas businesses are remaining closed as owners fear more vandalism and violence despite the city’s 7:00 p.m. curfew resulting from protests that got out of control.
“It doesn’t change anything,” says Morgan Pieper, owner of organic convenience store FeedMePronto in the Victory Park area.
“I actually think this is deflecting away from the real message and the point of this, and the poor man’s death, George Floyd! I mean, the media can’t talk about George Floyd when they have to talk about all of this destruction. It needs to stop.”
The destruction that followed what had started off as peaceful protests couldn’t have come at a worse time for small businesses already hit hard by Covid-19. Many had just reopened.
“Around 3 a.m., I got the phone call, my two front windows were busted out,” says Wes Williams, owner of BurgerIM in Dallas’ West End, “yeah, glass everywhere…they got me that night.”
Williams says he and friends stood guard to prevent further damage and he has already been able to reopen.
“Of course, when it’s your money, you get frustrated and I had five minutes when I was a little angry because my windows was broken,” says Williams who is African American. As such, he says he views the anger with more compassion or at least perspective.
“A riot is a cry for help, so a lot of time, when you won’t listen to our cries, people will make you listen to your cries.”
Williams says it is time for police departments to rid themselves of the bad officers as the voices demanding change will no longer be ignored.
“We are not making these allegations up. Racism isn’t getting worse, it’s just being recorded.”
Meanwhile, owners with businesses boarded up are frustrated, asking how does destroying a small business anywhere move the needle on social justice?
“We feel like we’ve all just been attacked,” says Pieper. “And it’s sad.”
Pieper says her surveillance cameras were rolling as the crowds turned violent late Saturday.
Another scene left her stunned.
“Dallas protestors came by and actually picked up this big planter (that protestors had earlier knocked over), and were scooping up the dirt and the plants with their bare hands to clean it up,” shares Pieper. “It was almost like the Dallas protestors were cleaning up behind these crazy people.”
While she can’t prove it, Pieper wants to believe that those promoting the violence are outside agitators.
“The protestors from Dallas don’t want this. They want to spread the word and message in a peaceful way and they’re not a part of the violence.”