City Responds to NAACP Press Conference

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF)- Local NAACP Leaders are calling city officials to include them in the Bikefest discussion.

The group says it should have a seat at the table and should be working to solve the problems at hand.

Both sides feel very strongly about their approach and opinions on Memorial Day weekend violence.

NAACP leaders feel canceling Bikefest and being left out of the meetings stems from racism, but the city disagrees.

Myrtle Beach leaders say the one thing that has to end is the violence.

"We support the city if you do the right thing. We support the county if you're going to do the right thing. But we won't support you if you're about racism. We won't support you at all," says NAACP Present of the Myrtle Beach Chapter, Mickey James.

City manager, Tom Leath, says the issue isn't race, it's crime.

"It's a behavior issue - it has nothing to do with race, but regardless of race, regardless of age, regardless of race, we cannot have people killed in Myrtle Beach," Leath said.

Community activist Jerry Faulk questions why Bikefest is the topic of conversation when there are crimes going on throughout the entire year.

"Ending Bikefest will not stop the lawlessness that goes on in Myrtle Beach or any other city," he said.

Leath explains there is nothing to cancel. It is not a sponsored event, and the city can never stop people from coming here, nor do they want to, but what happened Memorial Day weekend must be addressed.

"Three people killed. Three people came to this city and lost their lives," Faulk said.

NAACP President Mickey James wants a seat at the table during city sessions regarding Bikefest.

Leath says it's not time to bring in other groups.

The city wants to sort issues out with government officials and law enforcement first.

'We want to come to the table when the city sits down - we want to come to the table when the city talks about us!" James said.

"That time will come.. and that time is not right now," Leath explained.

NAACP President Mickey James says another city hall event is in the works. He calls it a "moral" day.

James says the county and city were both aware of the plans.

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