MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Before a packed crowd Monday, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley didn't pull any punches when talking about Bikefest.
"What happened last Memorial Day was not peaceful," Governor Haley said. "What we saw were three deaths, we saw other shootings and injuries, and we saw an absolute embarrassment to the state of south Carolina."
For months the governor has been vehemently against the Memorial Day street festival but said she is willing to try and fix the problems moving forward.
She said to make the weekend work; state and local officials need to find a balance between protecting people and protecting their first amendment rights.
"This is a way for us to find out if we can keep law and order, but more importantly if we can keep peace," the Governor said.
While Haley praised agencies like Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach for their cooperation, she made it clear, she isn't happy at all with the town of Atlantic Beach.
"I just wish we could get more respect and involvement from the people of Atlantic Beach," Haley explained. "I've gone and talked to their council, this group has gone and talked to them, we've got nothing, we haven't even gotten a response."
The Governor said she is amazed that Atlantic Beach officials continue to talk about the $30,000 in revenue they made on Bikefest.
She said her administration has spent 1.2 million dollars on resources and personnel.
"It would be really nice if the city of Atlantic Beach would step up and say 'you know what, we have a role to play in this and maybe we should step up and do something about it,'" she said.
Finishing up, Haley said 2015 will test all those involved in Bikefest.
She said it comes down to how well departments work together and if they can use their resources the right way.
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