Former Atlantic Beach Town Manager guilty of assault

01/11/2013 1:58 PM

01/11/2013 9:26 PM

A former Atlantic Beach town manager was found guilty in a Myrtle Beach courtroom of assault on a town resident.

Benny Webb, 54, of Sumter, was charged with third degree assault and battery in May following a State Law Enforcement Division investigation conducted at the request of the Atlantic Beach police department.

Webb was charged for physically grabbing and threatening to harm Paul Curry, who was asking for public records on Jan. 31 at Town Hall. The incident was witnessed by others and recorded by Curry.

Webb was convicted by a jury on Thursday and received a sentence of 30 days imprisonment, or a $500 fine, said J. Scott Hucks, the assistant solicitor who prosecuted the case. He has until Jan. 24 to pay the fine.

Webb did not return calls seeking comment.

Curry said he had gone to Atlantic Beach Town Hall to request a copy of a contract, but was told the document was unavailable. He considered that a refusal of his request, and stepped aside to take notes before calling the police to report a violation of the Freedom of Information Act.

“The next thing I know, Benny Webb comes out of his office and he’s got his hands on me,” he said. Curry said Webb called him a racist twice, and then threatened to beat him up.

“He said, ‘If I ever see you outside of Horry County, I’m going to take care of you,’” Curry said.

An Atlantic Beach police officer witnessed the last half of the incident, Curry said, and the officer told Curry to leave the property. According to Curry, Webb followed him outside before he left the property on the advice of Horry County authorities.

In March, Webb said Curry edited the recording before releasing it to the media and authorities and denies some of the recording’s content.

Webb tendered his resignation as town manager near the end of 2011, but said he would remain in the position until a replacement was found.

His last day with the town was March 12. Atlantic Beach has not yet filled the town manager position and has had two interim managers since Webb left.

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