'We were done wrong:' Raleigh restaurant owner calls on mayor, police chief to resign over downtown protest damage

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- Clyde Cooper's BBQ was supposed to reopen Monday from the COVID shutdown. But the doors are remaining locked because the owner doesn't feel protected in her own city.

Owner Debbie Holt said she's not ready and doesn't feel protected in Raleigh.

Holt is shifting some of her energy to a cause.

"We were done wrong. This whole town was done wrong," said Holt.

Holt says she was scared for her life when peaceful protests turned violent a couple of weekends ago. She stood inside her restaurant, armed with a gun, trying to protect her small business.

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She blames top Raleigh leaders for "allowing the chaos" and she's leading the charge trying to oust them from office.

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"Somebody has got to be held accountable. Somebody needs to go find another job," said Holt.

There's a petition calling for leadership reform and more than 3,000 people are backing it.

Holt said Police Chief Cassandra Deck-Brown isn't able to adequately serve and protect.

"I want her to go. She's not a leader," Holt said.

Holt said officers should have stepped in as places were ransacked and fires set inside stores. People live in apartments and condos above many of these businesses.

"It's not just about a business. It's about the lives that were down here," said Holt. "They (protesters) did a lot more damage on Sunday night than they did the horrific damage that they did on Saturday night."

Holt has the same fury toward Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin for not putting a curfew in place sooner.

"Bless her little heart, I know she wanted that job for a long time, but she flunked the very first test," Holt said.

ABC11 reached out to the mayor and police chief about the petition, but have not heard back.

Baldwin has said she regrets not issuing a curfew sooner.

Deck-Brown initially said she was not going to put an officer in harm's way to protect property and insurance would likely cover any damage, but that she does regret vandalism happening on her watch.

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Holt said she's been reaching out to the Raleigh City Council trying to set up a meeting. She's looking for restored faith that small businesses are valued and will be protected.

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"This is overwhelming to deal with and to feel like you were fed (to the wolves), and just let them do whatever you want with your business, that's not right," Holt said.
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