Tybee Island: Justice Department mediator observed Orange Crush 2019 event

Local News

TYBEE ISLAND, Ga. (WSAV) – It’s a controversial beach party on Tybee Island that draws in thousands of people every year.

News 3 has learned a member of the U.S. Department of Justice was on hand this year observing Orange Crush.

Five years ago, Tybee Island leaders requested the Justice Department to meet with them following accusations of discrimination leveled by some people attending the event.

Thousands of spring breakers, mostly from predominately African American Colleges, take over the beach during the same weekend in April every year.

There have been episodes of violence in the past surrounding the event, and for many, there’s also an issue about possible discrimination.

In 2017, the City of Tybee implemented an open-air drinking ban prohibiting loud music and public consumption of alcohol on the beach. Many people believed that move singled out one particular group. 

The City of Tybee contacted the DOJ to make sure their actions were legal.

City leaders say this issue isn’t about race, it’s about keeping everyone safe.

“There isn’t really that level of animosity that I think is kinda perpetuated on social media and elsewhere. I think everybody understands there are officers there to help make sure everybody’s safe,” said Tybee Island Mayor Jason Buelterman.

News 3 contacted the mediator with the Justice Department to learn what, if anything, he found while observing the Orange Crush event.

So far, we haven’t heard back.

We’re told he will return to monitor the July 4th celebration.

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