MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — A jury said Thursday that while the actions Myrtle Beach took for Black Bike Week were racially motivated, the same actions would’ve been taken if race was not considered.
The local branch of the NAACP filed a race discrimination suit alleging the city and police discriminate against African-American tourists. A total of nine plaintiffs were listed: Harry Briggs, Novice Briggs, Kenneth Coleman, Simuel Jones, Tyrone Kinard, William Lassiter, Cedric Stevenson, Leslie Stevenson, and the Myrtle Beach branch of the NAACP.
The group alleged Black Bike Week has been met with opposition and resistance and is treated differently than Harley Week, which is an annual event in the same area.
“The city does not implement a formal traffic plan for Harley Week and the mostly white participants are essentially able to travel around the Myrtle Beach area just as they would on any other day of the year,” the lawsuit claimed.
The city does not implement a formal traffic plan for Harley Week, for example. However, during Black Bike Week, Ocean Boulevard is usually reduced to a single lane of one-way traffic. And all motorists entering Ocean Boulevard are forced into a 23-mile loop that has just one exit.
None of the plaintiffs listed on the lawsuit will receive any money.
The City of Myrtle Beach released a statement about the court decision.
The City of Myrtle beach appreciates the opportunity to explain the traffic management and safety plan for the Atlantic Beach Memorial Day Bikefest and today’s thoughtful decision by the federal court jury in Florence. The jury’s decision confirmed that the safety plan was the right plan for the event, given the number of people, vehicles and pedestrians and the violence and other safety challenges which arose through the years. The public’s safety always has been and will continue to be the city’s top priority.
News13 has reached out to the NAACP for comment and have not heard back.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.