Downtown Bryan bar owner Dustin Batson was arrested by the Bryan Police Department on November 27, 2021. According to jail records, Batson’s arrest was pursuant to a Williamson County warrant for Harassment, a Class B Misdemeanor.
The charges against Batson stem from a series of 26 threatening and disturbing social media messages that he sent to a reporter. Batson falsely blamed the target of his harassment and threats for reporting his bar to the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission for being open to customers during a time when bars were ordered closed in the state due to pandemic restrictions.
The warrants are out of Williamson County because that’s where the target of Batson’s harassment lives. According to social media posts concerning West End Elixir, a now-shuttered College Station bar operated by Batson, threats of violence against members of the community are apparently not a new modus operandi for the the subject of the Harassment warrant. A customer complained, prompting Batson to threaten to “manually adjust” his attitude. What’s markedly different about Batson’s more recent actions, besides their far more violent nature, is that the target of his these threats did absolutely nothing to prompt them. Batson sent them in response to a negative event in his business which the reporter had no part in.
Reporting on the threatening messages follows:
The Downtown Elixir and Spirits Company thinks a Brazos Reporter writer is responsible for turning his restaurant in to TABC authorities. Social media messages from the establishment’s owner are abhorrent. He did not report anything. However at this time, authorities where the reporter resides are currently investigating the owner’s harassing, threatening messages.
Following are the social media messages the reporter received, which commenced at 8:35 PM tonight:
Message 1: Things are going to be very very bad for you. Get health insurance.
Message 2: You are going to die.
Message 3: I got your address from the people at Black Water Draw.
Message 4: I’m excited.
Message 5: Very excited.
Message 6: I’m excited for your dog too.
Message 7: How does that make you feel?
Message 8: You can’t report any of that because it’s just the natural course of things?
Message 9: This is fun for me…
Reply: Please stop harassing me. Sheriff is on the way.
Message 10: Seems like you are hated by everyone.
Reply: Please stop messaging me.
Message 11: I’m no expert, but killing yourself should solve your problems.
Message 12: I don’t have to, because you have the ability to block me.
Message 13: Do it.
Reply: Stop harassing me.
Message 14: Let me get my friend XXXX XXXXX and all the others you talked shit on to gang up on.
Message 15: Block me. It’s a thing.
Message 16: I will find you.
Message 17: I will get all the other comedians to do the same.
Message 18: I. Will. Find. You.
Message 19: And so will my friends. Too many of my places important friends found about you.
Message 20: I hope that scares you. You can’t report me for harassment because you can block me.
Message 21: I will share this every where.
Message 22: You will kill yourself and your family will accept it.
Message 23: You have nothing to go against me with. This entire town hates you.
Message 24: If you kill yourself, can I watch?
Message 25: Honest question.
Message 26: I’m no therapist, but kill yourself. It’s just an idea.
Last weekend The Downtown Elixir and Spirits Company, a Downtown Bryan establishment as well-known for its innovative entrees and classic Cajun favorites as it is for its craft cocktails, reopened for business at 25% capacity like many area eateries. Three days later the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC), said the establishment must close until restrictions involving bars are lifted.
According to a social media post by the establishment’s owner, TABC says the the issue is that The Downtown Elixir and Spirits Company is a “51% establishment.”
“51% establishments” are licensed to sell alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption. Their alcohol sales constitute more than half of gross receipts. These establishments are viewed as bars, and operate under different rules. According to TABC, “as a general rule, a true restaurant will have alcohol sales that are less than 50% of gross receipts.”
Brazos Reporter and the reporter being harassed by Mr. Batson had absolutely nothing to do with TABC shutting his establishment down. In fact, we tend to agree with his arguments that the particular establishment in question does function as a restaurant, a very good one.
At least we considered it a good one. Of course when you serve up delicious Jambalaya and Gumbo with a side of death threats against a reporter and his dog, the bad taste of the latter overpowers the savory flavors of the former.