I'm a newer GM (I've only run 3 3.5e games and 1 5e game over the last 20 years of playing RPGs). My group has a DM/player who is extremely experienced and knowledgeable about all things RPG. We'll call him Chris. I was running a game online because the other DMs in my group were run down.
This was my first time DMing for this group, but I got their input in the game while I was making it to ensure it was what they were expecting. Chris helped with a lot of the modified mechanics. I let everyone create very strong characters because they are playing as heroes as long as they didn't do anything game-breaking.
Our "session 0" was essentially an email chain and everyone was given the backstory of the campaign. The main point being that they are not a government entity and technically operating illegally, but some areas tolerate them because they are heroes. Everyone was told what their expectations were and I asked them for feedback on what they wanted from the game. (They decided unanimously that they wanted split combat and story).
Everyone was told that as a rule, I won't stop them from doing something unless it is unfair to the rest of the party (I.E. Attempting to betray the party). If they want to try to jump off a building, they are more than welcome. They were told that their actions will have consequences. Jumping from a building is probably going to hurt, even with a decent save. Killing someone can hurt their reputation and may end with them being hunted down.
The first two sessions went great, we established how the game would be run and there weren't any issues aside from the dice rolls. Because we were running online, we using a dice roller. All of the players and myself rolled low constantly. Chris rolled 5 nat 1s on the first game alone. I gave them the option to roll at home and use the honor system, but everyone decided to keep with the roller.
My enemies weren't designed to take them out, but to be obstacles with one or two strong opponents to give them a challenge. With the bad rolling, I was hitting them about 1 out of every five attacks. Our third session is where the problems started.
I gave them options of where to go for their mission, they chose a factory. At the factory they had checks to find information. Three people rolled very low and couldn't get the information. I gave them extra opportunities to get that information, let the NPC help them, and eventually they got the info they needed. They go to the next place where they were encountered by a murder robot. It wasn't meant to be a challenge, so they took care of it quickly.
Then they found a computer that was trapped to wipe the memory on a botched computer check. The player (we'll call him Brian) had a very high computer use skill, so it was very possible, but not a given. He rolled a nat 1. Chris then said that if they unplugged the computer then it would stop the memory wipe (not how it was supposed to work, but I allowed it because they were having a rough go of things). I allowed a reflex save to see how quickly they could unplug it. Bryan had a low roll, but not an auto fail, so I told them they could recover some information from it later.
Then I told them that they heard police sirens. Everyone except Chris wanted to run and he somehow convinced everyone to stay and talk to the police. Chris' character had a very high Diplomacy, so I allowed him to roll when the police got there. After a successful check, I told them that the roll is keeping them from being arrested, but the police still aren't friendly. Chris then tried to pull rank on them in an attempt to steal the evidence.
The rest of the group and myself reminded him that they don't have "rank" and have zero authority over the police. Chris then continuously antagonized the police. Making fun of them and telling them how to do their jobs condescendingly. Then the police chief showed up. I made it very clear that the chief didn't like them and that he didn't want them anywhere near the case. Chris took this opportunity to start antagonizing the chief instead. This is one of the places I messed up.
Chris touched on some very key indicators that the police chief was corrupt and I felt that he was leading towards making that connection. Our group doesn't like to railroad the players, so I let the scene go longer than I should have and Chris just kept making fun of the Chief and then essentially asked him to hand over all of the evidence to their group.
At this point, I made what was probably another bad call and told him that his attitude wasn't helping the situation and the chief would no longer talk to him. Chris then blamed Brian for the scene going the wrong way and both of them quit the game early.
After the session, I spoke with the remaining players and they felt that there was nothing wrong with the story or how I handled things. They defended Chris by saying he was stressed, which is understandable. I didn't have any hard feelings towards him, but I did feel like he took things too far.
Brian told me that he quit because Chris blamed him for his own mistakes and that it's a recurring issue.
Then the next day Chris messaged me and told me that I was taking my frustrations out on the party because my NPCs weren't doing damage and that I cared more about them than I did the players. After I explained that the police chief was corrupt and what I was attempting for him to pick up on, he told me that making a corrupt cop that they couldn't control was too topical and that's why Brian was upset and quit. I told him the real reason was that Chris blamed Brian for his own mistakes.
Now, all of the players and DM's are upset and nobody wants to run a game.
The question (and this is the only question): How should I go about continuing my game now without completely getting rid of my story, and without just letting my players do what they want with no consequences?