MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – The NAACP has added five new plaintiffs to its lawsuit against the city of Myrtle Beach and the Myrtle Beach Police Department in regards to Atlantic Beach Bike Fest, also known as “Black Bike Week.”
The original lawsuit filed in Feb. 2018 alleges that policies implemented by the city and the police department discriminate against the African-American attendees. The policies include implementing highly restrictive traffic plan and heightened law enforcement presence.
The NAACP argues that the same policies are not during “Harley Week” where the majority of the attendees are white.
The amended lawsuit adds five new plaintiffs to the case.
“The proposed new plaintiffs have each been trapped in Defendants’ 23-mile loop during Black Bike Week, some multiple times,” according to the lawsuit. “Furthermore, the proposed new plaintiffs have each observed and been troubled by the excessive, and at times militaristic, police presence implemented by Defendants during Black Bike Week.”
The plaintiffs in the case have attended multiple Black Bike Weeks and allege that they were affected by the traffic restrictions and police presence implemented by the city and police department.
Two of the new plaintiffs, Novice Briggs, 63, and Harry Briggs, 62, from Orangeburg, said they have been attending Black Bike Weeks for years. Novice Briggs has attended since the early 1980s and the couple has gone together since 2006, according to the amended lawsuit. The two allege that since the 23-mile loop was implemented in 2015, they have been stuck in traffic for hours.
“Because the experience of being trapped in the loop is so uncomfortable, they remain indoors. As a result, the Briggs are prevented from engaging with the very community that they travel to Myrtle Beach to see,” according to the lawsuit.
The NAACP filed the new request to add the five new plaintiffs on Nov. 30. Court records show the city of Myrtle Beach had until Dec. 14 to respond. However, since they didn’t respond, a judge granted the request to amend the lawsuit last Thursday.
The next hearing in the case is March 1. The parties will appear in court for the Defendants’ Expert Disclosures. A trial date was originally set for Sept. 2019, which has been delayed to Dec. 2.