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PRESS RELEASE

 

JULY 28, 2010

ATLANTIC BEACH, SOUTH CAROLINA

 

CONTACT

ATLANTIC BEACH CONCERNED CITIZENS, 843-655-4811

ATLANTIC BEACH LANDOWNERS ASSOCIATION, 843-853-7255

 

 

Police Seize South Carolina Church, Arrest Pastor and Husband

 

          Councilwoman-elect Rev. Windy Price was arrested in church with her

Husband, Darnell and charged with interfering with the police. Chief Eric Lewis and Lt. Randy Fisher of the Atlantic Beach Police Department emptied the church of its worshippers, threatened to put the Price’s nine-year old son in juvenile jail when he asked if he could go back inside to retrieve some personal items.  Chief Lewis taped off the church with yellow and black crime scene tape and called a locksmith who changed the locks on the door.  When asked why he was changing the locks, Lewis said, “I asked if any of you had the key and no one said anything.”  The Price’s had already been taken away when Lewis asked about a key to the church.

According to Chief Lewis, he had taped the church earlier and meant there was to be no service in the church.  “Someone removed my tape which is the reason for the charge of interfering with police, said Lewis and his Lt. Randy Fisher.  After Lewis and Fisher arrested the Prices, they called an Horry County police van to take the other worshippers to jail but decided against it after the van arrived.  Amy Breunig, a member of Atlantic Beach Concerned Citizens and the Atlantic Beach Landowners Association filed a discrimination lawsuit against the town earlier this year.  “I think they would have taken all of them but they did not want to take me, the only white worshipper in the congregation today.  Aside and very quietly Chief Lewis asked me to leave and I wouldn’t,” said Ms. Breunig.

“The arrest is a continuous pattern by the town of Atlantic Beach to close the CME Church and force Rev. Price, her family and members that live in the Housing Authority of Atlantic Beach out of town,” said Patricia Bellamy, President of the Atlantic Beach Concerned Citizens and a resident of the Housing Authority. 

The Price’s and the CME Church have filed several lawsuits against the Town for interfering with worship services at the church and most recently a civil rights lawsuit about the violation of human rights and civil rights in the town of Atlantic Beach.  The Atlantic Beach police arrested Mr. Price once before alleging that noise coming from the church during Sunday morning worship service was too loud.  They also arrested Mayor Retha Pierce for an alleged hit and run accident as she was on her way into worship service at the CME Church.

          Defeated Councilwomen Charlene Taylor and Josephine Isom who lost the 2009 town council election to Rev. Price still remain seated while the election protest winds its way to the South Carolina Supreme Court where the town’s last two elections have been decided.  Booker’s wife, Lynda is a member of the town’s election commission.  Last year she wrote a letter to a landlord asking that he evict Rev. Price from the home in which she was residing to prevent her from having a legal residence in the town at election time.  “They [Taylor, Isom, and the Bookers] use the town’s police department to harass their political opponents, our church members, and Housing Authority residents” said Derrick Stanley, a youth minister at the church and resident of the Housing Authority.

Rev. Price founded the Atlantic Beach Concerned Citizens to address the town’s numerous civil rights and human rights violations.  After Rev. Price won as a write-in candidate in the November 2009 town council election, the defeated candidates and town manager, William Booker allege that the church did not pass a building inspection.  They gave Rev. Price a list of items that needed to be repaired and when her husband, a contractor, began the work, they issued a stop work order.   The town’s building inspector gave Rev. Price a list of things that allegedly had not been completed though Chief Lewis admits they did not go inside the building to check.  “We didn’t have to,” Lewis told the worshippers.

“We are making calls to HUD and the U.S. Department of Justice everyday seeking their assistance, said Ms. Bellamy “It’s going to turn into a blood bath down here and folks are going to be surprised at who in the town, county, state and federal government have dirty hands in the land grab for this oceanfront property.” 

North Myrtle Beach is the city that surrounds the predominantly black town of Atlantic Beach and has begun claiming the chartered town of Atlantic Beach as one of its precincts in violation of state and federal laws.  The arresting officers Lewis and Fisher are former North Myrtle Beach police officers. Both Lewis and Fisher were forced to resign from the North Myrtle Beach Police Department in November 2009.  The circumstances surrounding Lewis’ resignation were never disclosed.  Lewis fired Atlantic Beach’s only black police officer after his wife preached a sermon at the CME Church and hired Fisher.

Members of the CME Church held service and fellowship on the street in front of the church until almost midnight.  They will be at the J. Reuben Long Detention Center at 9:00 a.m. Thursday morning for the bond hearing along with attorney Adam Whitsett from the Finney Law Firm in Columbia, South Carolina where Ret. South Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice, Ernest A. Finney, Jr., past president of the Atlantic Beach Landowners Association practices with his son, Jerry Finney.  

Rev. Price is an ordained minister in the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church.  Bishop Hoyt and Elder Gilbert of the CME Church were apprised of the situation in Atlantic Beach.  Elder Gilbert said, “we are moving to protect the religious freedoms afforded all people under the U.S. Constitution.  We are proud of Rev. Price, her family and our church family.  They are not alone.”  

According to the National Conference of Black Mayors, Atlantic Beach is the last predominantly black oceanfront municipality left in the nation.

Truth is undoubtedly the sort of error that cannot be refuted because it was hardened into an unalterable form in the long baking process of history... Michel Foucault Hope begets many children illegitimately and prematurely. Allie M. Frazier Beware the terrible simplifiers... Jacob Burckhardt

Original Post

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iReport —

Thank God those of us who serve the public understand media misrepresentations fueled by their need to create controversy and sell newspapers.  We have only to look to the recent media feeding frenzy on the situation with Ms. Shirley Sherrod.  One blogger manipulated a tape and the rest of the media, the USDA, and the NAACP rushed to judgement and though apologies and recants were issued later, it was not without substantial and painful consequences to her and her family.

The local media is guilty of the same in the situation regarding the Atlantic Beach CME Church.  Ms. Kneece would have to read an article from the U.S. Attorney's magazine titled "The Tide Turns in Atlantic Beach" to understand the level of drug dealing, associated murders, turf issues and public corruption that motivates the town's need to remove the CME Church and me from the town of Atlantic Beach.  The arrests of public officials including police officers is public information and long been a part of the town's history.  We intend to change that.

 

The CME Church has been in Atlantic Beach for over seven years now.  As a pastor, I have participated in the clean up of the town and taken people in from the streets that would have been participants in the illegal enterprises.  I started the Atlantic Beach Concerned Citizens and taught citizens how to address matters in their government and hold it accountable.  This has not made me popular with the government, administrative staff and police officers that have long backed the town's illegal activity.  Ms. Kneece did not indicate that she was aware of false arrests of other citizens or the town's other illegal activities including falsifying information to DHEC to close the children's playground last year.  We have a senator and a member of the House of Representatives currently being investigated for their role in illegal activities.  They have done an excellent job of pushing their media slant.  I don't have those connections or that kind of money. I have God, the truth, and a commitment to my church and the Atlantic Beach community.  God enlisted me in his army for change and until He discharges me, I am here until the battle is won.

 

The facts are that I was the top vote getter in the 2009 town council election.  The last two elections in the town have been decided by the SC Supreme Court.  It appears this one will, too.  While they have delayed getting to the Supreme Court, they are well aware that it does not have a history of overturning elections.  Each time the High Court has supported the will of the people.

 

As you know from the lawsuits the CME Church filed in 2004 the Town has been trying to force the Church to close.  They have sent police officers into service three times including the most recent that culminated in the arrest of my husband, Darnell, and me.  The town agreed to a monetary settlment in 2007 and terms that included a conditional use permit to allow the church in its current zone.  The Town failed to issue the permit.  But they did issue a building permit and we have continued to do work on the church in phases which keeps the permit active. By the way, my husband is a licensed general contractor.   Each new town manager, five since 2004, at the request of the Town Council has targeted the Church for harrassment.  After the arrest of the town's long time Mayor Irene Armstrong and town manager Marci Conner (still awaiting trial) the Town hired a series of  inexperienced town managers and police officers.  The most recently hired police chief  and officer, both had been forced to resign or be fired from the North Myrtle Beach Police Department in November 2009.  The former police chief was arrested for DUI and left the position.  The town manager has never been a town manager before and has had limited involvment in government.  The town attorney was recently arrested for DUI.  This inexperience combined with two town council members that had been soundly defeated in the November election set the stage for the over-zealous response to a code violation and the unlawful arrests, condemnation and illegal taking of the church.  If you will read the code that was cited, SC Code 108.1.3 you will see that condemnation nor arrests for such violations is codified in the law.  All of the attorneys involved note the town's attempts to cover its mistake with releasing still more false and irrational reasons for their misconduct in this matter.  What appears to have originated as "frat house" behavior has resulted in a serious civil rights matter. Cooler heads in town hall with solid legal advice would've perhaps produced a different outcome.  In true Atlantic Beach fashion, instead of trying to rectify the situation they enlist the media and others to paint a pretty picture for them or ask others to withhold their support of the church which ultimately helps them.

 

The code violations cited were not offenses that rise to the level of condemning a building.  There was a couple of electrical outlet covers removed while painting that had been replaced.  It had rained and there was water in a pail outside that they say had mosquito larvae in it.  They said we were working on the building without a permit.  Though we have a building permit, you don't need one to paint or lay carpet.  They had also issued a stop work order to prevent us from working.  In response to other false information they have released, let me say, there was no warrant for anyone's arrest at the church that night; there was no interference with them trying to make an arrest; there was no exposed electrical wire.  The Police Department directed the worshippers to leave the church, sealed the church with crime scene tape, changed the locks and arrested us, and threatened to arrest my nine year old child when he asked if he could retrieve his Bible from the church.  No one resisted arrest.  No one raised their voices.  Since our King Day Celebration in January we have impressed upon our church family the need to be obedient and Dr. King's rationale for passive resistance and civil disobedience.

 

My husband's first arrest in the church was because they said we were making too much noise during revival.  He had just arrived from working out of town and sat down on the second pew surprising his family when the police came in and told him to come outside that he was under arrest.  The town said the church was violating its noise ordinance.  Why he was singled out for the unrest is questionable.  This is the case that the U.S. Supreme Court has decided to hear.   With these matters pending in the Court, the Town still continues to harass my family to break down my resolve.  It is painful to watch but still I must go forward.

 

All of the matters I've discussed have been in the newspapers as well. I'm sorry that Ms. Kneece was left with the wrong impression.   Occasionally there is a reporter who digs beyond the mainstream media as does the radio program called "Have You Heard The News?" and Examiner. com.  Caesar's court is not the church's first choice for the resolution of any problems but in the world when all else fails, God's people must stand up for His church even in Caesar's court.  It is best at this time for the town to argue its own case and present its own facts and that God's people be where they are supposed to be at the appointed time to stand up for His Church.

 

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to respond.  Here's extending grace and peace to you.  If you have any other questions or concerns please call me at 843-655-4811.

 

I am sincerely yours,

 

Rev. Windy Price

Pastor

Atlantic Beach CME Church

Geez ... the more things change .... then more they stay the same. 


If there's any one thing I wish we could teach our younguns ... it would be that the same racism and discrimination experienced by our ancestors in the past are the SAME as they've always been .. and still happening (sometimes in the same way, sometimes not) to this very day.

I wonder if it would make them more inclined to want to carry on the fight for the struggle we've been battling since the beginning ... through every generation since the first?    'Cause it's the same fight - the battle for equality - that stories like this indicate we are nowhere near 'winning'.  At least ... not yet.
Last edited by EbonyRose
Reference:
 Geez ... the more things change .... then more they stay the same. If there's any one thing I wish we could teach our younguns ... it would be that the same racism and discrimination experienced by our ancestors in the past are the SAME as they've always been .. and still happening (sometimes in the same way, sometimes not) to this very day. I wonder if it would make them more inclined to want to carry on the fight for the struggle we've been battling since the beginning ... through every generation since the first? 'Cause it's the same fight - the battle for equality - that stories like this indicate we are nowhere near 'winning'. At least ... not yet.
  How very true my sista!  I think that if our children are taught and exposed to our legacy as slaves....then!  They will be able to recognize it in its many many disguises....but!  It seems each generation of blackfolks loses something so profound....and I think it could be that many of those in this generation do not UNDERSTAND the damage of the "n" word...they feel that they have succeeded in turning it into a term of affection among themselves....which is absolutely ridiculous...no matter how many times you say it.  It is STILL an ugly and hurtful word.  And I also think that as long as our Black history is NOT taught in public or private schools extensively and on a continuous basis....misinformation can "continue" to give birth to the ignorance of what happened....thus becoming less insensitive and less humane.  This is WHY I include the history of slavery in my programs....as is why I also talk about it in juvenile detention centers/in-houses/specialty schools.  Cuz with each generation, I think there is a deliberately void of black knowledge ....even coming from some of us.  Cuz many of us DON'T wanna talk about it...saying we must go beyond the past.  But we need to talk about it.  Every.  Day.  It should always be UPFRONT.  With passion!  With conviction. [like massa do with his violent history...playin it off as heroic]  But that is NOT what's happening with us.  Many of our generation of blackfolks are drunk in imagery and not facts.  If they look good and have the bling bling....that's all that matters.  To me they are giving up the [blood] rights.....thousands of blackfolks died for and thousands upon thousands of nonblacks [who come to this country] are benefitting from. 


It is tragic.  Cuz what you say is true, my sista.  We need to continue educating our people about our history as slaves.  We must.  So no one will forget. There is a term I hear often:  If you think educaton is expensive....try ignorance.  Which is our case in not continuing the "fight."   Cuz if we stop fighting, guess who will eventually win?  But! The question remains....do our young people even CARE?  To me the answer is the scary part.  But!  I also blame a lot of us for not doing our part in keeping the dream alive in terms of our Blackness.  Our pride.  Our accomplishment.  And the fact that we are the ONLY group enslaved and turned it around in less than 500 years.  Other groups faded/upsurped into the conquered culture never to be heard of again.  This didn't happen with us.  And we should CELEBRATE that fact.  But do we?   We should ALWAYS keep this "victory" of human freedom in massa's face....ALWAYS!  But!
Last edited by Kocolicious
Considering that Chief Lewis is African-American & calling him a racist is beyond words. I have known the chief for 35 years. I have license in both mechanical and electric, Santee Cooper would not remove service if it was a safe condition. Also after viewing some of the reports and citations issued by several of the previous officers, how they were allowed to hold a police commission is beyond me. The main problem seems to be Atlantic Beach is trying to come into the 21st century and certain persons wan't to keep the $$$ flowing in from drug dealers & slumlords.
Reference:
It is tragic. Cuz what you say is true, my sista. We need to continue educating our people about our history as slaves. We must. So no one will forget. There is a term I hear often: If you think educaton is expensive....try ignorance. Which is our case in not continuing the "fight." Cuz if we stop fighting, guess who will eventually win? But! The question remains....do our young people even CARE? To me the answer is the scary part. But! I also blame a lot of us for not doing our part in keeping the dream alive in terms of our Blackness. Our pride. Our accomplishment. And the fact that we are the ONLY group enslaved and turned it around in less than 500 years. Other groups faded/upsurped into the conquered culture never to be heard of again. This didn't happen with us. And we should CELEBRATE that fact. But do we? We should ALWAYS keep this "victory" of human freedom in massa's face....ALWAYS! But!

That's a WHOLE LOT of truth you're speaking there, Ms. Koco!! 

It's a long ways to think back to .... but ... I'm really trying to recall just how much (if any) of the Black history I know was taught to me in school.    I know I had to have learned something ... but, all of the important stuff I know now ... especially about our greatness and strength and resilience ... and the degree to which we have 'overcome' the great obstacle of irrational hatred ... NONE of that was taught to me in ANY school!!!  NONE of our great minds and leaders of the past (except, of course, MLK) were introduced to me by ANY teacher in ANY classroom for which I was a student!!

Nope.  All of that came late and either through my own self-education ... or that of other Black people who shared such wealthy knowledge!!  I gotta tell ya ... I can't imagine ever being prouder of being a Black American .... (i.e., I never had an issue with the so-called "self-hatred" issues that I hear people talking about ... and, to this day, I'm still not sure I even understand exactly what that's all about! ) ... but, with every new thing I learn about the incredible nature of our spirit, history and heritage .... my pride grows bigger.  And my dedication grows stronger.

Not only are our kids today blinded with insensitivity and 'ignorance' of our history and the cause we are fighting for ... but, a further roadblock, I believe, will be the fact that with so many kids now being the product of interracial couplings and a more "colorblind" attitude when it comes to race and race relations, the vacuum of racial pride in being African American will spread even wider than it is now.  They don't care now ... and will have even less reasons to care (in their minds) in the future.

But ... again ... as this article clearly states .... racism and discrimination against Black people is alive and well ... and still kickin' pretty damn hard!!  We've come a long way ... but still have so much farther to go before any real type of "equality" will be achieved.  Maybe we (our generation) has dropped the baton.  But they need to PICK IT UP ... and keep runnin'!!    'Cause it ain't over.  Not by a long shot.  Not at all.

"The town said the [Atlantic Beach CME Mission Church] was violating its noise ordinance.  Why [Darnell Price] was singled out for the unrest is questionable.  This is the case that the U.S. Supreme Court has decided to hear."  Quote by Windy Price.

 

The U.S. Supreme Court only agrees to hear about 100 cases per year.  The above is not one of them.

 

U.S. District Judge Terry L. Wooten, in an Order dated February 18, 2010, wrote:

 

"However, the plaintiffs have submitted no caselaw suggesting, nor does the evidence in the record indicate, that the Atlantic Beach police department acted outside the scope of its authority in enforcing the municipal noise ordinance. All testimony introduced into the record indicates that the plaintiffs were aware of the municipal noise ordinance, but were of the belief that the CME Mission, as a religious institution, was exempt from the ordinance. However, the plaintiffs have not proffered evidence or caselaw to support the assertion that the ordinance does not apply to the CME Mission. There is simply no basis to conclude that the CME Mission was exempt from the ordinance."

 

"The evidence of record is relevant to a decision in this case. It indicates that residents and business owners in the area surrounding the CME Mission were very concerned about the noise emanating from the CME Mission. In fact, one police incident report detailing an occasion on which police responded to noise complaints at the church notes that the police received calls from a resident threatening “to sue the town for inaction.” (Doc. #42, exhibit 4 at p. 9). While the plaintiffs assert that the police department acted outside the scope of its authority to address the noise complaints by entering, as noted, the plaintiffs have not provided any legal authority to support this position. The

evidence of record shows officers entered the CME Mission to address the noise issues based on an ordinance in place. The record does not reflect that officers entered the CME Mission with the intentions of suppressing or engaged in conduct which suppressed religious beliefs or practices.

Thus, the Court concludes that the defendants are entitled to summary judgment on the plaintiffs’ Free Exercise claims filed pursuant to the provisions of 42 U.S.C. § 1983.4"

 

Windy Price has been advised in writing by the U.S. 4th District Court of Appeals that she is not a licensed attorney and may not file any pleadings with the court and that the Atlantic Beach CME Mission Church is not exempt from the appeal filing fee.

"The town agreed to a monetary settlment (sic) in 2007 and terms that included a conditional use permit to allow the church in its current zone."  Quote by Windy Price.

 

Paragraph 4 of the "Settlement Agreement and General Release" reads:

"The Town (of Atlantic Beach) agrees to fully cooperate with the church in processing application for permits and zoning changes; however, nothing in this agreement should be construed as binding the future votes of the town council."

 

Further, the Agreement, signed by Windy Price on March 6, 2007, also stated that "[t]he church agrees to follow the town's permitting process," and, "[t]he church agrees to comply with the town's building and zoning ordinance and/or regulations."

 

There is no record of anyone applying for a conditional use permit for the church, nor is there any record of a building permit being issued for the major renovations to this former restaurant.

 

Windy Price is a con artist and a liar.

"By the way, my husband is a licensed general contractor."  Quote by Windy Price.

 

The South Carolina Secretary of State lists Darnell Price's company, Sea Cast of the Carolinas, Corp., as Dissolved by Forfeiture on October 1, 2007:

 

SEA CAST OF THE CAROLINAS, CORP.

 

 

DOMESTIC / FOREIGN:     Domestic

STATUS:     Forfeiture

STATE OF INCORPORATION

/ ORGANIZATION:     SOUTH CAROLINA

Profit

REGISTERED AGENT INFORMATION

REGISTERED AGENT NAME:     DARNELL PRICE

ADDRESS:     1612 4TH AVE S

CITY:     CONWAY

STATE:     SC

ZIP:     29526

SECOND ADDRESS:     

FILE DATE:     03/31/2003

EFFECTIVE DATE:     03/31/2003

DISSOLVED DATE:     10/01/2007

Corporation History Records

CODE     FILE DATE     COMMENT     Document

Forfeiture     10/01/2007     DISSOLUTION BY FOR     

Incorporation     03/31/2003     INCORPORATION     Image

Windy Price lied while under oath in a Deposition taken on April 22, 2009:

Q  Have you ever been arrested?

A  No.

Q  Have you ever been convicted of any crime other than a minor traffic violation?

A  No.

 

Windy Price is a convicted criminal, for a crime of dishonesty.

 

Windy Price was found guilty of Fraudulent Check at a bench trial in the Conway Magistrate Court, Case No. G009814.

 

Windy Price was charged with Fraudulent Check in the Myrtle Beach Magistrate Court, Case No. G108357.

 

Windy Price, under the name Windy Hall, was charged with Fraudulent Check in the Aiken Summary Court, Case No. D689932.

 

Windy Price has been sued by landlords for eviction three times just this year.

 

Windy Price was served with a Rule to Vacate or Show Cause on March 19th in Case No. 2010CV261030226

 

Windy Price was served with a Writ of Ejectment on June 22nd in Case No. 2010CV261030406.

 

Windy Price was served with a Rule to Vacate or Show Cause on June 25th in Case No. 2010CV261030499.

 

Windy Price's other eviction actions include Case Numbers:

1999CV26109081817

2000CV26109080732

2003CV26110010595

2006CV26103070470

2006CV26103070746

2009CV261030418

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