MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WPDE) — The NAACP and the Myrtle Beach branch of the NAACP filed an amended complaint against the City of Myrtle Beach detailing what they say has happened in the past to stop "Black Bike Week."
Black Bike Week is tied in with Memorial Day weekend and with the Atlantic Beach Festival. The initial lawsuit was filed in 2018.
According to court documents, former Myrtle Beach mayor Mark McBride was a vocal Black Bike Week critic, advocated for the events to end, and lobbied the state of South Carolina to deploy the National Guard to Myrtle Beach in an attempt to intimidate Black Bike Week participants.
The NAACP claims that those same resources were not asked for during Harley Week, which occurs earlier in May and is mainly attended by white bikers, according to court documents.
In 1998, a restrictive traffic pattern was created for Black Bike Week that was not used during Harley Week, according to the NAACP.
"These restrictions caused significant gridlock, severely limited the ability of Black Bike Week attendees to move freely throughout the area, made participants feel unwelcome, and interfered with their enjoyment of 'cruising' along Ocean Boulevard," according to the lawsuit.
In addition to calling in the National Guard and creating restrictive traffic patterns, the NAACP claims that in 2002, the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce provided 30-page color brochures for Harley Week participants. The brochure included a “Welcome Letter” from the chief of police urging visitors to attend Harley Week.
"In contrast, during Black Bike Week that year, the Chamber distributed a two-page flyer listing the City’s traffic laws and the locations of local jails," according to court documents.
In addition to the flyer, the NAACP claims that businesses closed during Black Bike Week and a hotel, cited in the lawsuit as the Yachtsman, required Black Bike Week guests to sign a 34-page guest contract, outlining punitive measures for any violations of the hotel’s policies. This contract was not required on any other nights of the year. The Yachtsman also charged its highest rates of the year during Black Bike Week, $100 more per night than during Harley Week.
In addition to new claims made against the city, the lawsuit has added a number of people they say were affected by the measures the City of Myrtle Beach put in place for the weekend.
Many of the complaints were against the 23-mile traffic loop the City of Myrtle Beach implemented in 2015 and the increase in police presence.
The NAACP is suing the City of Myrtle Beach for deprivation of constitutional rights and for violating the Civil Rights Act of 1964. They're asking for a preliminary and permanent injunction to stop the defendants from discriminating against the people who attend Black Bike Week.
A city spokesperson said they do not generally comment on pending litigation.