Tybee Island Under Observation By The U.S. Department of Justice To Create A Fair Process on Special Events


Thousands of beachgoers descended onto Tybee Island last weekend and they were under a microscope. They were observed by a representative of the U.S. Department of Justice, city officials, law enforcement and members of the Concerned Citizens of Tybee, dancing, frolicking, drinking alcoholic beverages, noise, traffic patterns.

Orange Crush participants at the predominately black college aged gathering have faced aggressive regulations over the past three years by the city of Tybee. It prohibited open alcoholic beverages – something regularly allowed – traffic slowed to one-way motorists, traffic stops and property searches; limited housing rentals, noise and the closure of popular restaurants and businesses.

The Concerned Citizens of Tybee, who is made up of senior citizens complained how the “children were being mistreated,” said Julia Pearce, the organizer. And, the city reversed the alcoholic beverage law.

Pearce, an African American resident of Tybee for 22 years, says those kinds of regulations created Jim Crow ordinances – reminiscing before the civil rights laws were enacted in the 1960s. Others, like minded neighbors and friends, who are Caucasians like Philip T. Rosen and Jan Elders said, “their actions were racist”. Those words rang out Saturday morning during a meeting with Dion Lyons, a mediator for the U.S. Department of Justice Community Relations Service, who is working with the city and the Concerned Citizens of Tybee to create a fair process on how events are handled fairly from one event to another.

Lisa Lepofsky, Philip T. Rosen and Julia Pearce, members of the Concerned Citizens of Tybee, discussed the ramifications of cancelling Orange Crush
Lisa Lepofsky, Philip T. Rosen and Julia Pearce, members of the Concerned Citizens of Tybee, discussed the ramifications of cancelling Orange Crush

Lyons asked how laws have changed since an agreement in July. It was written to look at whether the city is managing “high volume” events like St. Patrick’s Day, July Fourth and Orange Crush. He reminded them that meditation can’t “change hearts and minds. But it does observe the law.”

Lyons came to observe noise, traffic and law enforcement arrests. If he finds inconsistencies between the events, Lyons told the group that he would recommend action to the U.S. Attorney and it could become a legal issue.

“If (the city) is following the mediation, it won’t become a legal issue,” Lyons told them.

The agreement says in part: “Points of Agreement”

The participants in the mediation have agreed to support the recommendation to the City Council that the city develop across the board objective criteria that will be applied equally for all holiday and/or tourism events, permitted or unpermitted. The city will continue to apply the permitting process as it now exists or as hereinafter amended.

The participants in the mediation have agreed to support the recommendation to the City Council that these criteria will define and establish the thresholds at which the city will initiate actions such as, but not limited to:

Police presence and other public safety resources, restrictions on open containers of alcohol, traffic control measures, sanitary facilities, litter control, and noise abatement.” www.cityoftybee.org/ CivicAlerts. aspx- ?AID=281&ARC=592

As the group encouraged Lyons to look at the jersey barriers blocking residential areas, traffic cones limiting travel to one lane and signs, Lisa Lepofsky, another concerned citizen, stopped to answer a call on her cellular phone.

“Orange Crush has been cancelled,” she read from the Tybee Island Police Department’s Facebook page, which was later taken down. “A promoter was arrested for operating a disorderly house”, she continued.

Later it was reported that George “Mikey” Ransom Turner, III was accused of damaging a house during an overcrowded party on Friday and using a fake name. Officials said Turner also sold tickets for the Orange Crush parties on Eventbrite website.

That didn’t stop the beach party.

As a key observer, Pearce, the founder of the Tybee MLK committee, spent the day Saturday afternoon until Sunday morning observing the city’s actions and that of the young people at Orange Crush. City Manager Shawn Gillen and Mayor Jason Buelterman also watched the crowd.

By midday, Pearce, Gillen and Buelterman bumped into each other on Butler Avenue, a popular bar and restaurant street.

“It’s pretty quiet,’’ the mayor said. “Everyone’s dancing and too much smoking of weed,’’ he said in jest.

Pearce nodded and she took photos with them. She also tried to document and photograph all types of events from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. She noted twerking competitions with women wearing thongs, and men gambling on the bridge surprised her. She spent a lot of time observing before she moved on. Later police officers surrounded the gamblers who were playing the red top game on a miniature carpet and flashed $100 bills.

The entire Tybee police force, Chatham County Police, Chatham County Sheriff, Georgia State troopers and undercover detectives – amounted to about 100 law enforcement officers who patrolled traffic and foot patrols for Orange Crush. It’s about four times more police than a regular weekend. There were approximately dozen people arrested on various misdemeanor charges over the weekend.

The city is also installing new vehicle license software to determine if the vehicle was legally on the roadway and whether the motorists have warrants. Gillen said by the end of the year, the scanners will be placed at the entrance of the bridge so that anyone traveling to Tybee Island will be checked.

“The mediation is working,” Gillen nodded as he walked the streets watching the visitors.

He said the council did not mention the alcoholic ordinance this year. It focused upon crowd control and traffic.

Lyons said he’d be back in July to observe the Independence Day festivities to compare how those beachgoers are treated.

43 thoughts on “Tybee Island Under Observation By The U.S. Department of Justice To Create A Fair Process on Special Events”

  1. Yes the same old mess there in Savannah. What about the resident that live on the beach. Double standard . White you right – Black you better stand back. Let people live . Green, black are blue.

    1. Does it matter that the “kids” destroy property while on the island? I lived on Tybee thru an Orange Crush an appalled at how disrespectful the attendees were. Has nothing to do with race. All about how the people behaved.
      Disgusting that race was brought into this.

      1. Hmmmm. But let me guess, you’re not appalled at the way the squares around Savannah are totally littered with trash, party goers are intoxicated in public, etc. All the same behavior exhibited during Orange Crush, but no one bats an eye because it’s a predominantly white event. What’s disgusting is people like yourself pretending that race doesn’t have everything to do with it.

        1. I think St. Pat’s downtown is worse – there are more people with more trash. I think it’s bad on all “big” events downtown. Whenever people are disrespectful and do not take care of their own mess/litter/other waste, I have a problem. Personally, race is not an issue. I cannot speak for anyone other than me (I do agree that the actions of Tybee smack of racism, but also see that there are other issues – mainly environmental impacts, which are present at all “big” events on this, and other, beaches), but I hope that we are able to arrive at a productive solution for this problem. For the sake of the beaches, the world, and all the people who live here.

      2. Like river street is destroyed during St Patrick’s Day …. you can pretend race has nothing to do with it so you can feel better about yourself , however it clearly does !

      3. During St Patrick’s Day celebrations I see the whole city of Savannah being disrespected. I attend First African Baptist Church and our church is used for a public toilet. We have to clean urine and vomit from our church property before services on Sunday morning. Where is the call to shut St Patty’s Day celebration down. I’ll wait for it.

      4. They enjoy sex on the public beach while children are around, bringing their guns and drugs. Yes – this is not a discrimination of blacks. This is blacks totally having no morals and disrespecting the residents of the island because the island is mostly white residents. The are trash pigs leaving what food and drink they bought off the island on the beach for others to clean up. If they spend money on the island for a rental, they try to fit 100 in a tiny space!!!!!!

        1. Damn Polly Toole, you let all your racism out with your comment. I have been to several predominantly white events and chaos from extreme partying takes place there as well. While the white events typically receives little to no scrutiny, black ones are always heavily patrolled, widely criticized, and receive pushback. It’s racist.

        2. How did Black people get to this country? By your ancestors who were the worst on Earth, and they taught you to be just as ignorant and demonic.

        3. You’re just jealous because Black people have fun, so get your lazy self off of your plaid sofa, and cleanup your nasty self and filthy home. Then get a tan!

      5. You sound like one of the racist residents of tybee y’all dont say a damn thing when st Patrick’s day comes and they destroy the damn history of Savannah with feces and urine all about but oh god forbid the blacks come to the beach and they even clean the shit up but it’s still a issue stfu

        1. But for years and years, the black community NEVER cleaned up after itself. I remember seeing a white girl at the beach cleaning up so her school didn’t look so bad. I don’t participate in St. Pats, but I am sure it is a mess too.

          I still think if you look at political alignment, you learn all you need to. Under conservatives, grounds are often cleaner then when the events started, except for the mountain of trash at the cans. Then go and photograph how liberals leave public spaces, night and day difference. I would not want a group trashing my island either.

      1. Who really knows when orange crush is, so how does one actually “prepare” for clean up? Do you show up at anyone’s house and just decide you’re going to have a party because you feel like it?? I would love to come into some of the neighborhoods of the people complaining and have thousands of people join me on a whim with no respect to any of the residents or their families and have a great big, nasty party without your consent (that I’ll make money from, but you won’t). I think it would be great to purchase nothing and leave all of our trash behind unless we feel like cleaning up this year. If volunteers want to, they can clean up. Doesn’t that sound GREAT?

  2. It’s so sad that you just can’t go out and enjoy yourself anymore people judge you by what you do what you say the color your skin but they will they don’t mind taking your money though we as black people got to get it together stop letting people use you let them all be on that beach body cells so they can fall down when God come through then they’ll see how it is 🙏 and I know everybody need to work and need a job since they want it all white let all white work down there cuz one thing I know with dealing with white folks they are the laziest people I know.

    1. Lol. That was the longest run-on sentence I have tried to read in a long time. Are you too lazy to you proper sentence structure? 🙏

      1. That’s not the point. Please understand that, we can read between your sarcasm when, the truth is being told. There is no such thing as a run on sentence on Social media 😂 you must be a little older. No disrespect 😉

    2. Racist PIG! HOW ignorant are you? ??? I bet you are not going to say such thing’s to our face! Praying for your IGNORANT TRASHY BEHIND!

  3. I think the regulations put in place for Orange Crush are abusive and unusually restrictive. I don’t see the same level of enforcement for other events, i.e. Pirate’s “Thingie” or the 4th of July. It’s a apparent that the residents don’t want the young black people there for Orange Crush or any other time for that fact. i have been encouraging Black people to still visit Tybee frequently, pay for parking ONLY take up all the spaces, but DON’T spend any money with the businesses, Bring Everything with you, including water. Spend the Day, Enjoy the Beach but DO NOT Support any Business, Maybe the economic impact will change some minds. See you Next Week and the Week After and the Week After…….

  4. The old saying about there being two sides to every story & the truth lying somewhere in the middle applies to the Tybee vs Orange Crush issue. Truth is that if the Orange Crushers would obtain necessary permits, fund the cleanup of the beach, etc., that would go a long way to making the event a non-contentious thing. The other truth is the omnipresent “elephant in the room”: Young black males commit a disproportionate amount of crime in this country and that is a large part of the demographic that attends Orange Crush. Tybee residents fear that & don’t want those problems on the island. Personally, I’m still waiting for the local and national black community to address the real issues instead of crying racism at every turn.

    1. We’re screaming racism because there is never this much commotion when there are events downtown. You’re talking about young black males committing crime at an alarming rate, and the residents are fearful because of that. Have you researched the murder rates of caucasians? They’re the “mass murderers” of the world. But let me guess, the residents aren’t afraid of being killed in droves by white nationalists. The rationale that you’re using is pure trash! There hasnt been ONE event that has received such backlash downtown as the Orange Crush event, and there’s WAY more damage done at events downtown. Have you seen how the squares look downtown after St. Patrick’s Day or any other major events that take place down there?

      1. Once again, permits pulled and fees for clean up paid in everything except Orange Crush. If you act like a negro, people will see you as a negro. Plain and simple, respect it don’t trash it, but you must have never gotten that memo.

        1. Hello, I was thinking about staying a few days in your city to enjoy the beach. It’s a shame that in 2021 I felt the the need to Google “Is it safe for AA’s at Tybee beach”. I did this because of it being in the deep south. Wow I got more than I expected surprised/not surprised. All events should have ordinances, permit and clean-up requirements no matter what color, age or type of event it is. It may help if the city prepares by providing more porta-potties and didn’t close your businesses because the children are Black. White youth don’t clean up either, use harder drugs than just weed and yes participate in public nudity and sexual acts. Who’s fault is it that there is no clean up plan in place after the Orange Crush Event the visitors or the city council? That should all be handled during the request for the permit not behind their backs after they leave. I can’t wait until people with their racists uneducated beliefs die off. But it won’t until grandpa Bubba(the name speaks for itself) stops bouncing Joey and Amy one his knee while he teaches the double standards of life based on race. Then he has the gull to ask for the administrator to tell someone to stop using his name while he says things like the “dick of America”, Dumbass and Negro. I didn’t hear one person say YT, Cracker, Melanin Challenged, Honkey or any derogatory names to describe the White Race. As far as being NASTY once again most racists are “History Challenged” or pretend to be. Let me help you out with that it was the colonizers who were hygienically challenged. They brushed their teeth with urine, and washed their face and hands with feces in the morning but you call us dumbasses, LOL. Bathing was infrequent and rarely involved submerging the body under or in water. They had no idea what soap was Polly Toole!!! You are the main race who carries bugs on your bodies such as lice and pubic crabs. Then you bought your asses to America killing it’s occupants men, women and children alike by murdering them violently and scalping them and putting their heads on poles to intimidate retaliation. Yes it was white colonizers that scalped but as usual they twist history and write the books the way they see fit Bubba. They brought dysentery, cholera, whooping cough, typhoid, influenza and smallpox and killed off 90% of the Indian nation stole their land and assigned them to reservations. Nothing wrong with assigning them 100 to a teepee or Section 8 apartment is there, Polly Purebred? You can talk this nonsense to the babies who are just there to have a good time and take a break from their studies but when you come for me you better crack a few books and pack a lunch cause were going to be all DAY!!!

  5. What I do not understand, and have never heard a response to, is why the Orange Crush promoters refuse/neglect to get the permit? Every year we hear that this is an unpermitted event and I wonder why.

  6. Someone contacted me this morning and stated that my name was being used for racial slurs on this site. When I find you it’s gonna be a bad day.

  7. Will the administrator of this site please remove any and all comments by the person who used my name?

  8. Tybee needs to welcome and make plans for this celebration just like they do for. St. Pat’s!

    One of my co-workers was pulled over 2x’s because she was DWB. That shit has to stop!! She’s a local just trying to get to work, for goodness sakes!!

  9. I’m doing a research paper on this and I would like to know specifically what white events you’ve attended that received little scrutiny, although they are chaotic and as disruptive as Orange Crush. Do these events leave the beach a mess? Do they introduce drugs, guns or public sex?

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