The Superblock Trial day 4 began with Plaintiff Attorney Tucker Player cross examining Myrtle Beach Assistant Police Chief Marty Brown.
Brown was given a huge laundry list of crimes, violations and nuisance calls that have occurred on RipTydz Oceanfront Grille & Rooftop Bar.
At an unrelated trial held June 17, 2021, Ciaralynn Edwards was working as a server at RipTydz Oceanfront Grille & Rooftop Bar on the night Roger Ramos was killed. Ramos was 25 years old.
“The shooter just stood up and shot [Roger] in front of me — point-blank, right in the face,” Edwards told the jury at the Horry County Courthouse
Player held up a large stack of police reports on Riptidz.
Flipping from page to page, Player can be heard saying Narcotics, fighting in bar, passed out in bar, noise complaints, noise complaints, fist fight in bar, serving after hours, passed out in bar, blacked out in bathroom, guns in bar, gun possession in bar, and Player continued on and on.
He then spoke of another downtown shooting in front of Riptidz. When this shooting happened on Ocean Boulevard on May 17, 2020, visitors, families, and businesses were caught in the crossfire. One infant almost lost her life as the window beside her parked car seat was shot out.
After Riptydz area shooting, Mother takes to Facebook
“I can’t tell y’all how good my God is. Not even 2 more inches and my baby would have been shot. Please pray for us right now and my nerves. I’m sick to my stomach knowing something could have happened to my sweet baby. I hope that people see that picture and they realize that something so innocent laying there almost hurt for no reason. No reason at all,” said Ashley Waller.
Afterward the murder of Ramos, Mayor Bethune took to Facebook in support of the Riptydz Bar.
“Why such different treatment?” Player asked the Assistant City Police Chief Brown. Brown offered no response.
“I mean, they closed Levelz for a shooting that happened down the street!” said Player. “Yet, nothing here….”
Brown said that the Oceanfront area experienced much higher traffic volume around the Riptydz area than the Superblock did.
“Then the Mayor goes and eats there [Riptydz] assuring the city it is safe,” Player added. “Why the different treatment?”
NUSIANCE DEPARTMENT HEAD – Stephanie Parham
The City called Stephanie Parham, The Head of The Nuisance Complaint Process, to the stand. James Battle worked through series of white owned businesses and minority businesses the officer had helped get into compliance. Parham also highlighted Donnie’s Bar & Grill and the Yellow House as 2 white owned businesses that the city ultimately closed.
On cross, Player reminded Parham that the Yellow House had been closed twice and reopened. It was only permanently closed recently. “What did the process allow so that this highly known drug house was able to continuously re-open?” asked Player.
Parham said the property would be closed for one year and then be allowed to reopen? “But my clients were closed permanently,” said Player.
Player brought up the city’s extremely high complaint call volume numbers on Downtown Redevelopment Corporation Board Member Noam Pyade’s FOUNTAINBLEAU INN.
“We did start a nuisance process on that property,” said Parham.
Player noted that the nuisance problems existed for practically a decade. Parham pointed out the process can take some time on certain properties.
Player asked if she knew the city was intending to buy those Pyade owned hotels for $15 million.
Parham informed Player that if she had known that she would not have started the process. Parham said she believed there was a conflict if the city was conducting a nuisance process on a property the city intended to buy.
Player informed Parham that “this is exactly what the city did with my clients.”
SLED OFFICER TAKES THE STAND
Cross examining a SLED officer, who cited the Pure Club Ultra on a “random inspection” which lead to its closing, Lawyer Preston Brittain pointed to an email showing that the officer was tipped off by the city before he visited.
Brittain stated that meanwhile two bodies were found in the lake at Broadway at the Beach when the SLED officer previously worked for the Myrtle Beach Police Department. Brittain asked the SLED agent if Broadway at the Beach was a high crime area.
The agent told him the city did get complaints on the venue.
FORMER POLICE CHIEF WARREN GALL IS CALLED
The city continued to have a tough day.
Former Myrtle Beach Police Chief Warren Gall announced his retirement in May 2017 just days before the busy Memorial Day weekend, Bike Fest and the Carolina Country Music Festival.
From a litany of emails FOIA’d by WPDE, it is clear Chief Gall was pushed out of his post by then City Manager John Pedersen.
CITY EMAILS CALL FOR AN EXIT PLAN FOR GALL
Chief Gall emails by ABC15 News
On cross examination, Gall told the Plaintiffs’ lawyer that it was not acceptable to park police cars with lights flashing in front of a storefront until 2 a.m. in the morning with no complaint calls nor any arrests.
Most damning was an email read by Gall. The letter was sent by Officer David Knipes to Gall, John Pedersen and Downtown Redevelopment Corporation Head, David Sebock.
Knipes wrote that he had just arrested a man named Mohammed Karam for trespassing as he was departing Abiza. “He says he owns the business and has a lease on the property. I need to know if the city [Downtown Redevelopment Corporation] has purchased this property?” asks Knipe.
An upset Brittain pounded the podium saying, “You arrested a man and didn’t know if he owned the business or not!”
Gall gazed forward with no comment.
FINALLY AN EXPERT?
Jim Cocklin was called to the witness stand as a paid expert for the city. Cocklin worked in law enforcement in New Jersey.
However, under cross examination by Player, it was clear Cocklin was unfamiliar with any aspects of the case, except for the shooting at Natalia’s and the shooting at Club Ultra Pure.
When asked about the shootings at Sharkeys, Riptydz, the issues at Broadway at the Beach, unending nuisance issues at DRC Board Member Noam Pyade’s hotels, and the street shooting down the road from Club Levelz, Cocklin admitted he was not familiar with any of those elements of the case.
He had not seen the video of the street shooting near Club Levelz that the city used as an excuse to close that bar. The video was shown in court this week while Cocklin was seated in the courtroom.
Tomorrow Former City Manager and DRC Board Member John Pedersen takes the stand on behalf of the City.