The immobilizing boots are applied by parking-lot operators to vehicles whose drivers have failed to pay the parking fee. Many private lots have large boards with cash slots assigned to each space, but no parking attendant on duty.
But Nora Wilson, of the Black Academy at the Dallas Convention Center, said many visitors insisted they paid their parking fee, but got booted anyway.
"It really is annoying for our patrons who come here, because the programs we bring are for families," she said. "It’s really unfortunate that this is happening, and we just want it to stop."
In an e-mail, Malcolm Jackson said he was one of 30 people booted Friday night at a private lot across the street on Canton and Akard streets.
"I paid the $5, yet my car was booted," he said.
Yolanda Davis complained to the academy that she was one of seven people booted in the same lot on April 4.
"I was diligent in putting my money into the cash box to make sure that I wouldn’t have this happen to me," she said. "This is just so unfair."
Davis said the space number and line markings on the pavement in that lot are almost invisible.
Customers said Hawkeye Parking Enforcement charges $100 to remove a boot it installs. The company did not return a message on Tuesday.
The city of Dallas is drafting a parking lot ordinance that could restrict the fines allowed for boots in private parking lots and require lots to issue receipts so customers would have proof that they paid the original parking fee.
"I definitely think that the city should step in," Davis said.