More plaintiffs added to NAACP Black Bike Week discrimination lawsuit against Myrtle Beach, MBPD

Grand Strand
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MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – More plaintiffs have been added to the NAACP’s Black Bike Week discrimination lawsuit against the City of Myrtle Beach and the Myrtle Beach Police Department.

In February 2018, the Myrtle Beach branch of the NAACP and three people filed a race discrimination lawsuit, alleging that the City of Myrtle Beach and the City of Myrtle Beach Police Department discriminate against African-American tourists.

An amended version of the lawsuit was filed on Tuesday, according to the lawsuit. A total of nine plaintiffs are 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 lawsuit claims “the vast majority of Black Bike Week visitors are African American and the event historically has been met with opposition and resistance from the City of Myrtle Beach and many local businesses.”

“The hostility toward Black Bike Week has led to a number of restrictive governmental policies that were first challenged by the NAACP and individual Black Bike Week attendees in an action filed in this Court in 2003,” states the lawsuit. “The plaintiffs in that case argued that Black Bike Week should be treated the same as Harley Week. Chief United States District Court Judge Terry Wooten found that the differences in the traffic plans between Black Bike Week and Harley Week were likely motivated by race and therefore likely unconstitutional. Chief Judge Wooten granted the plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction and ordered the City to implement similar traffic plans for the two events.”

“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 also claims. “During Black Bike Week, however, Ocean Boulevard – a major thoroughfare that runs the length of Myrtle Beach adjacent to the beach which is a focal point for the motorcycle rallies – is reduced to a single lane of one-way traffic. And during the late night hours of the event, all motorists entering Ocean Boulevard are forced into a 23-mile loop that has just one exit.”

The lawsuit further claims that the City of Myrtle Beach “also maintains significantly different levels of law enforcement between the two bike rallies” and that “the city’s motivation for the policies is clear: it seeks to make Black Bike Week sufficiently unpleasant for the mostly African-American motorcyclists that they stop attending and the event ceases to exist.”

The full lawsuit can be read here.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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