BERTIE COUNTY, N.C. — As demonstrators took to the streets of Charlotte, North Carolina, last week over the fatal police shooting of Keith Scott, residents of the northeast region of the state contended with troubles of their own that went largely unnoticed by the rest of the country.
Remnants of Tropical Storm Julia dumped 17 inches of rain over a three-day period, leading Gov. Pat McCrory to declare a state of emergency in 11 counties.
McCrory on Monday visited Bertie County, where water rescue teams helped 138 people stranded in homes and vehicles, including 61 residents and staff from a nursing home in Windsor. While the nation’s eyes were on Charlotte, McCrory said he tried to bring up the flood to “the national audience.”
“I let the national audience know ‘yeah, we have a serious problem with 300 protesters in Charlotte, but we have a real problem with thousands of people right here in Bertie County, several thousand here in Windsor. And they need your help now more than ever,'” McCrory told a crowd of Bertie County residents during a news conference Monday.
He didn’t stop there. He asked North Carolina Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry how much had been spent on the flood; so far, it’s been $250,000, Sprayberry responded.
“Sadly, we have had to spend over $1 million on 300 protesters for three nights,” McCrory said. “So, we’d like to stop spending that money, and it looks like we are redeploying out of Charlotte, and hopefully …we’ve still got money in our reserves for disaster relief, and we are going to see how best we can use this to help the people of this great county.”
It’s not clear where the million-plus dollar figure came from, or which state or local agencies footed the bill for the Charlotte protests.
But, as Sprayberry noted regarding funds for flood recovery, “We have only just begun to start spending money.”