Myrtle Beach loitering proposal similar to controversial D.C. law

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) – As Myrtle Beach city leaders focus on reducing crime on Ocean Boulevard, one goal is to get rid of large crowds on it.

That objective rose in importance after video of a shooting there went viral last month and it happened after a large group of people got into a fight.

The city introduced several safety measures since then including barricades on the boulevard and more officers at certain times.

Another idea being discussed is an anti-loitering ordinance, which was continued at the last city council meeting earlier this week.

City council has repeatedly declined to talk to us about the ordinance on camera, but when we took a closer look at it, we noticed it’s very similar to a law in Washington D.C.; and that law has gotten a lot of complaints.

A police board in Washington D.C. has actually talked about changing their law after getting complaints; but Myrtle Beach is still talking about bringing the law here.

The city already has anti-loitering policies in place, but the new ordinance would ban crowding, obstructing or incommoding on streets, sidewalks and other public places.

We plugged part of the proposal into Google and found problems in Washington D.C. They passed a nearly identical law in 2013 and since then, the city’s gotten complaints of officers harassing people, mostly from minorities.

Washington D.C.’s police review board issued this report in May and said the law should be changed.

Among the recommendations, it said the city should better define “crowding,” “ incommoding,” and “obstructing.”

Myrtle Beach city manager says the city’s still working on the ordinance, but said he didn’t think it would be a problem here with good police training.

Councilman Wayne Gray said since there are already loitering laws on the books, there’s a good chance this one won’t pass.

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