Mayor of Raleigh: 'Our downtown has been destroyed'
WRAL's Adam Owens interviews Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin about why she decided to put a curfew in place. "Our downtown has been destroyed," she said. "We don't want to see a repeat."
you made the decision to put the curfew in place. What is it you're looking at? And what is it you think that you may face with these potential protests that you needed that curfew to be put in place? Well, we have been monitoring the, um you know, the situation across the country. But we've also been looking at You know what we're learning here. You know, we saw what happened in Durham the other night with vandalism. We are just trying to avoid any destruction. Are downtown has been destroyed, Destroyed in May. We don't want to see a repeat, so we are prepared for the worst and hoping for the best. What else other than that curfew that you could discuss is also going to be in place? Just so in August, we're doing something similar to what we did in August. We have, uh, we're blocking some of the roads. Um, that creates ah, safer environment. We are also our city staff is going through and doing a sweep of the streets, making sure that, um, items that could be used as projectiles are removed in that bricks and other, um, types of things that could be thrown, Um, are are not on the streets. So you know the sweeps. The roadblocks will have police, um, in place. Um, they will not be in riot gear. We're going to approach this as a peaceful protest. Is there anything that you've seen that suggest to you That it could be anything more than that? Peaceful protest? Um, there are posts that people have sent me on social media. Um, that are concerning, um and and that's that's the primary concern. Some of what is being, um, spread on social media. And I've heard you in the past talk about your support for people who want toe peacefully. Protest Thio, make a point they're passionate about, Um what are your thoughts on that side of things? That juxtaposition between that peaceful protest and what we've seen in the past happen later in the evening where there is that destruction. Well, you know, we know that thes the peaceful protesters air, not the ones causing the issues. It's the other groups that latch onto these protests. Um, you know, the protesters that we saw in May in May, the peaceful protesters were not the ones who caused the destruction um it was different groups of people who had come here from out of town who were intent on destruction. They came with, um, you know, their backpacks filled with bricks and, um, sledgehammers. What Not. I mean, we also have the video. We saw what happened. And so the rial fear isn't the peaceful protesters. It's the folks who latch onto these groups with the goal of causing destruction. So there's different ways to handle the curfew when 11. PM strikes. That's when the curfew starts. What will be the attitude of police officers when that happens? Well, you know, we, um we tried thio ensure compliance, not to arrest, but through encouragement and conversation. Um, but if people are not obeying the curfew like we did last time, we will start making arrest. And you talked earlier, Mayor just a moment ago. About concerns for businesses downtown. Of course. Um, they're already dealing with the pandemic and what that's done to the economy. And then the previous incidents you just mentioned And then we watched him yesterday, boarding up once again. What are you hearing from those businesses? Downtown? Eso. It's really mixed. There are a number of small businesses I talked to, um, primarily restaurants who did not want to see a curfew. Um, I talked to a number of other businesses who did want to see a curfew. Um, I think that people, um, there is support for the movement. There is support for the social justice that needs to happen in our community. And, you know, there it's a balancing act, and there's so many points of view. Um, the 11 o'clock curfew is really a compromise that allows our small businesses to stay open. Our restaurants primarily and, um, serve people, um, and make a living. And, you know, I hated that I made this. Had to make this call, but I also had to look at, um, you know, the good of our city and just being ensuring that we were prepared. Um, there have been a lot of efforts recently to by different groups to try to promote people to get back downtown. You worry that this might be another one of those things that people will point to that will keep them from going downtown. Well, one of the we are concerned about that, and we also are concerned about, um you know, just the image that protest. Um, not peaceful protests, but violent protests bring, you know, we are the capital city. So this is where people come to make a statement, and we are mindful of that. You know, there's time when protest actually helped fuel business. I mean, you know, the women's march, you would see hundreds and thousands of women down here. They would goto our restaurants after and enjoy a meal. It was, you know, part of that connection. You know, teachers march. I can remember, you know, our restaurants being full. And, you know, it's I'd love to get back Thio that mindset. Um, but there's a lot of fear out there right now, and I think part of it is some of our business owners air really suffering from PTSD. What happened in May will impact us for a long, long time. In the memory of that, you know, stand. I talked to some of them and they talk about standing outside their businesses, protecting their businesses. E mean, that's not to be taken lightly. So you know this is going to take time, but we will come back and our downtown will be strong again, and we're going to make that. So and, you know, I'm trying to work with the downtown Raleigh alliance and are small business owners to make sure that they they have a future.