Gov. Pat McCrory said Tuesday that his Democratic opponent Roy Cooper and Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts met to talk politics during last week’s Charlotte protests, a charge that spokesmen for Roberts and Cooper deny.
McCrory also said Roberts had “politicized” the unrest.
McCrory made his comments to reporters following an appearance at the Rural Center in Cary.
“The attorney general,” he said, “was actually in the mayor’s office for three to four hours with his campaign team when others, including myself and the chief of police, were trying to coordinate efforts to protect the streets of the city of Charlotte and coordinate with the National Guard and the Highway Patrol to protect buildings, to protect people and to protect police.”
Cooper spokeswoman Noelle Talley said Cooper was at the Government Center last Thursday in his capacity as attorney general in the aftermath of last week’s shooting of Keith Lamont Scott by a Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer. Cooper was accompanied by his chief of staff.
Aside from his driver, no one from Cooper’s campaign staff was present, a campaign spokesman said.
Both Talley and Gregg Watkins, an aide to Roberts, said the mayor and attorney general met for no more than 20 minutes, discussing the shooting and its aftermath. While Roberts went downstairs to a news conference and kept other appointments, Cooper stayed in the building where he met with a group of faith leaders.
Later Thursday, Roberts stood alongside McCrory at a news conference at police headquarters, where he thanked her and other leaders for their efforts during the violent protests.
“Attorney General Cooper and Department of Justice Chief of Staff Kristi Jones met and spoke with Mayor Roberts, local faith leaders, and law enforcement in order to discuss issues surrounding a very tense situation,” said Cooper campaign spokesman Ford Porter. “Gov. McCrory knows this and is apparently lying in a bizarre political attack.”
A McCrory spokesman said his accusation of Roberts politicizing the situation stemmed from Roberts’ appeal to the U.S. Justice Department to review Charlotte’s situation.
“The last think we needed was politics at that point,” McCrory said Tuesday, alluding to the Cooper-Roberts meeting. “And right now I’m seeing the same thing … with the mayor making political editorials which are quite inaccurate.”
He was apparently referring to Roberts’ op-ed in Tuesday’s Observer.
“The lack of transparency and communication about the timing of the investigation and release of video footage was not acceptable,” she wrote. “And we must remedy that immediately.”