Posted on June 1, 2011

NAACP Sues Myrtle Beach for Discrimination

Dan McCue, Courthouse News, May 31, 2011

Hotels, motels and restaurants in the Myrtle Beach area have discriminated against African-Americans for years by refusing to open during Black Bike Week, the NAACP charges in a pair of federal lawsuits.

The civil rights group contrasts the behavior of defendants Molly Darcy’s on the Beach, a restaurant and bar, and the American Pancake and Omelet House, with their business practices during the annual Harley Davidson Spring Bike Rally, which is attended almost exclusively by white bikers.

Black Bike Week is the only time of year when most of the tourists visiting the popular beachfront destination are nonwhite, according to the NAACP.

“For the past few years, Molly Darcy’s on the Beach has refused to serve visitors of Black Bike Week by closing during its otherwise customary business hours,” the complaint states. The same is allegedly true of the American Pancake and Omelet House.

Had the establishments been open, class members would have eaten at both establishments, the NAACP said.

Compounding the organization’s anger is that fights and skirmishes–including an armed confrontation between Myrtle Beach police and white biker gangs–have occurred during the Harley Week event, but not during Black Bike Week, yet businesses continue to cater to white bikers and refuse to serve black ones.


From its inception, Black Biker Week has been a more modest–and notably tamer–affair, the NAACP said, with no major skirmishes between police and bikers.

Nevertheless, as the event expanded from tourist sites in nearby Atlantic Beach, S.C., “the leaders of the Myrtle Beach government and hospitality industry–most of whom are white–exhibited overt hostility to the Black Bike Week Festival because it attracted a large number of African Americans to the area during Memorial Day weekend,” the complaint states.

In the late 1990s a candidate for mayor, Mark McBride, campaigned on eliminating the event, and after he was elected, lobbied unsuccessfully to have the National Guard deployed during the event.

The city has adopted a “traffic management plan” to limit traffic on Ocean Boulevard where bikers during Black Bike Week gather to view each other’s rides.


“The traffic ‘plan’ was not originally imposed during Harley Week,” the NAACP says. When it was, “the owners and operators of local businesses complained vociferously about the change, and Myrtle Beach lifted the restrictions after only three days,” the complaint states. “By contrast, the traffic ‘plan’ was retained unchanged for Black Bike Week.”


[Editor’s Note: Additional information about Black Bike Week–also known as Atlantic Beach Bike Fest–can be read here.]

Myrtle Beach Police Investigate Stabbing Report

Tonya Root, Sun News (Myrtle Beach), May 31, 2011

Myrtle Beach police received reports of five armed robberies, a stabbing, a shooting and an incident involving a shotgun being pointed at a security guard during a nearly eight-hour period in the city early Sunday and Monday.

Because so many people were in the area for Memorial Day celebrations and the Atlantic Beach Bikefest, officers responded to numerous criminal complaints and traffic violations, said Myrtle Beach police Capt. David Knipes.


The incidents and their details:

At 8:50 p.m. Sunday, a 39-year-old man suffered a gunshot wound. A woman told police he tripped and fell, which caused the gun to go off in her Myrtle Beach home at 716 62nd Ave. N., according to a police report.


At 9:30 p.m. Sunday, a police officer saw an 18-year-old man running, yelling that he had been robbed.

The 18-year-old, a 28-year-old man and another man whose age was not listed on the report told police they left their room at the Bar Harbor and were going downstairs when they were confronted by three men with guns.

One man ran away from the robbers, but the other two told police they were robbed of their belongings. The men told police the suspects went into a nearby room and police found two men matching their description inside.

Officers found marijuana and a stolen gun inside the room and arrested the two men, Knipes said. Charges are pending.

At 11:30 p.m. Sunday, police were called to Fourth Avenue South and Ocean Boulevard when someone pointed a gun at another person, Knipes said. {snip}

Officers were told by Family Kingdom security that a woman reported being raped by several men, Knipes said. The guard told the woman they had to call police, but she left and a short time later he saw her with a man in a sport utility vehicle.

The guard said the woman got out of the SUV and yelled at him about her property being stolen and the man got out and pointed a shotgun at the guard, who ran.


At 1 a.m. Monday, a 41-year-old man reported being stabbed in the abdomen. He told police he wasn’t sure where the attack occurred. {snip}

The man told police he and his wife were each on their motorcycles stopped at a traffic signal when a large group of people surrounded them and tried to grab the necklaces from his neck. The man said he felt a pinch to his side and the couple rode back to their hotel.


Police noticed broken glass on the hotel room floor and the woman said she broke a liquor bottle when she cleared the coffee table. The woman said she cleaned up the mess before police arrived.

The woman also had a cut to her foot and she said that occurred when she cleared the coffee table and the bottle was broken. Police also noted a broken shampoo bottle in the bathroom and shampoo on the mirror and ceiling.

At 2:45 a.m. Monday a 24-year-old man told police he was robbed in the area of 12th Avenue South and Yaupon Drive. The man told officers he was walking with a friend when two men, armed with a handgun, took the man’s necklace, ring and cash.


At 3 a.m. Monday, a couple told Myrtle Beach police they were robbed at gunpoint by two men while on the beach.


When police ran the man’s name through their computer system they learned he was the victim of a similar style robbery early March 13 in the 100 block of North Ocean Boulevard, according to the report. The man reported the same items reported stolen early Monday.


At 4:30 Monday, police were called to the parking lot of the Greyhound Bus Station at Seventh Avenue North, where a driver for Beachside Cab told police he was hit in the head and robbed while sleeping in the driver’s seat of his van, Knipes said. The driver told police the robber demanded money and hit him several times in the head before he threatened him with a gun.

The driver gave the man $320 and another man with the robber demanded the driver’s cell phone before he hit the man. Both men ran from the area.