MIDDLE RIVER—The owners of Vince’s Crab House in Middle River are suing Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski and people who have been protesting outside of the restaurant for nearly a month.
The protestors began to gather outside the crab house last month after the owner, Vince Meyer, posted on social media, “there is one place I bet protesters/rioters won’t light on fire or break into or even block the road to…the social services building,” as well as racial slurs.
Meyer later apologized and closed the Middle River location for nine days. Once the restaurant reopened, that’s when the protests started.
Rikki Vaughn, a Baltimore County business owner who was one of the protestors, told the Avenue News last month that people want to have a “civil conversation” with Meyer.
“We set up a meeting to have an open dialogue with Vince and we were going to do it. Then when they found out we had the NAACP (The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) they canceled the meeting and over the weekend they started this, ‘Dollar Dollar Crabs Y’all’ special,” Vaughn said.
The Avenue News can not confirm or deny with the owners that protestors set up a meeting with Meyer. Meyer said the protesters were supposed to stay away from the storefront and that they were trespassing private property.
Police told the Avenue News last month during the protests that the protesters were being peaceful and not breaking any laws. This peaceful nature from protestors allegedly turned violent—which is now why the owners are suing Johnny O and the protesters.
Former state legislator Pat McDonough, who released a statement on the family’s behalf, said the family, employees, customers and delivery vendors have been subjugated to death threats, assaults, have been followed to their homes, harassed by protesters on their private property, received racist remarks, and have had people post, “confidential business information of the business owners in the hope of enticing identity theft.”
”During this violent period, the police took no action. The situation was worse than Seattle because police were present and failed to do their duty to protect the people and their property,” McDonough said in his release.
”The family was informed that Baltimore County Executive, Johnny Olszewski, Jr. had ordered the police to ‘stand down.’
Police did arrest Keith Francis Duvall, who threatened protesters at Vince’s with a bat. Duvall is charged with second-degree assault, disorderly conduct, and driving under the influence of alcohol.
McDonough said the family has hired private security, costing them $40,000 and that the business has undergone financial losses due to the protesters.
”The non-profit, Respect the Constitution Legal Foundation, is launching a multi-phase campaign based on legal rights and the rule of law to represent the family,” McDonough said.
”A demand letter has already been sent to the County Attorney and County Executive, Johnny Olszewski Jr. seeking damages for the destruction of the small business since the police had been delinquent in protecting the operating rights of Vince’s Crab House.”
McDonough said the next step for the family is filing a “Writ of Mandamus” with the Circuit Court of Baltimore County and file criminal and civil lawsuits against protesters
”The Department of Justice and the FBI will be contacted to assess actions related to the civil rights of the family, customers and others that have been violated,” McDonough said.
”Also, one member of the family has had their social security number exposed on Facebook which is a violation of federal law.”
McDonough said peace orders have also been obtained from the court to protect a number of members of the family who, “have already been a victim of assault. These peace orders have not been enforced by the local police subsequently being rendered useless.”
”In conclusion, this small business and an American family have been under consistent violent assaults and duress. It is hard to believe that in the United States of America, this type of lawlessness can go unchecked. Clearly, the Baltimore County Executive is the responsible party for this reckless policy which is endangering life and property.
The decision by Mr. Olszewski, Jr. is a violation of his oath of office and the rule of law. The consequences of his lack of leadership will have profound implications across the entire County. All the citizens in Baltimore County should be shocked, outraged, and even dismayed by the story unfolding about Vince’s Crab House and the family who operates this small business. The time to act is long overdue. Now we will hold County Executive Olszewski Jr. and the protesters accountable,” McDonough said in his release.
A press conference will take place at Vince’s Crab House Wednesday at 10 a.m. where the family will address this ongoing situation.