Atlantic Beach mayor surrenders to police to face assault charge

mprabhu@thesunnews.com or troot@thesunnews.comMay 12, 2013 

Atlantic Beach Mayor Retha Pierce surrendered to police Monday to face a charge of assault and will have a bond hearing on Tuesday, according to authorities.

A warrant for Pierce’s arrest was issued Friday on a charge of third-degree assault and battery, said Sgt. Jeff Benton with the Horry County Sheriff’s Office. The charge is a misdemeanor . If convicted Pierce faces up to 30 days in jail or a $2,000 fine.

At 1 p.m. Monday, Pierce surrendered to police at J. Reuben Long Detention Center to be booked into the jail, Benton said Monday. She remained in jail Monday night, according to Horry County Sheriffs Department’s online booking records.

Atlantic Beach’s lone police officer, Sgt. John Jackson, signed the warrant, which was transferred to the Horry County Sheriff’s Office, Benton said Sunday.

The incident occurred on April 8 at the Atlantic Beach Community Center at 1010 32nd Ave. S., in Atlantic Beach, according to an arrest warrant. The center is the location where Atlantic Beach Town Council and other committees for the town conduct their meetings.

In the warrant, the victim told police Pierce committed the “assault on the victim by shoving the victim and then threw water on the victim.”

Pierce, 63, has faced criminal charges in the past.

Pierce was found guilty in July 2011 of resisting arrest and ordered to serve 18 months probation for an incident on Christmas Day 2007.

In March 2011, a Marion County judge dismissed a September 2009 driving under the influence charge. Pierce also was arrested on hit-and-run charges in an April 2010 incident and trespassing charges in January 2010. Those charges also were dropped.

A charge of driving under the influence filed by Conway police on Jan. 9, 2012, and is pending, according to Horry County court records. Pierce had requested a jury trial on the charge. It is unclear when that trial will be scheduled.

At the time of that arrest, Pierce said she was set up and officials were conspiring against her because of her position in the town of Atlantic Beach.

She remains mayor as a result of pending appeals of a special election nearly a year ago in which Councilman Jake Evans defeated her by a vote of 79 to 5. He can’t be sworn in until the appeals are settled.

Contact MAYA T. PRABHU at 444-1722 or follow her at Twitter.com/TSN_MPrabhu. Contact TONYA ROOT at 444-1723 or follow her at Twitter.com/tonyaroot.

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