MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – The City of Myrtle Beach continues to wait for a federal judge to make a decision on whether the 23-mile traffic loop can be used during Memorial Day weekend.
A lawsuit was filed by the NAACP in late February that claims the traffic loop, utilized throughout Memorial Day weekend, is discriminatory against black bikers.
“Black Bike Week is the one time of the year when the majority of the tourists in Myrtle Beach are African American,” states the press release from the NAACP. “It is also the only time of the year when the city and police impose such an obtrusive traffic plan for tourists. Such tactics are noticeably absent during the weeks of Spring Break, or Fourth of July celebrations.”
The NAACP requested an immediate injunction to stop the city and police department from deploying the traffic loop this summer. Until the judge makes a decision, Myrtle Beach police plan to carry out the change in traffic behavior and bring in additional officers. The police department is hosting meetings Wednesday to introduce that safety plan to the community.
Captain Joey Crosby says in 2017 the department brought in more than 500 officers from multiple surrounding agencies to work during the holiday weekend. In 2018, fewer officers will be utilized – about 420 in total – and each officer will have a four to five block radius along Ocean Boulevard to monitor.
“Our hope is, by having officers on each sector, we’ll increase our visibility so that we’re able to address any needs that the citizens and guests may have,” says Captain Crosby. “It goes back to our mission, to create that safe environment for the citizens, the attendees, and the public safety personnel that are coming to assist.”
Should the judge rule in favor of the NAACP and not allow the police department to utilize the traffic loop, Captain Crosby says there is a contingency plan in place, but details of that plan were not offered.
The police department’s Memorial Day Business Watch meeting is set for 10:00 a.m. Wednesday. The police department will also host a Memorial Day Community Watch meeting at 6:00 p.m. The meetings will take place at the Myrtle Beach Train Depot, 851 Broadway Street.
Anyone with questions is invited to call 843-918-1382.
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