Black boat captain attacked in Alabama riverfront brawl is charged with assault

Months after the riverfront brawl transpired in Montgomery, Alabama, the Harriott II riverboat co-captain was charged with assault.

Footage from the 5 August brawl shows Dameion Pickett, the riverboat co-captain, being approached by pontoon boat owners — and eventually punched by one of them — after he asked them to move their boat from the riverboat’s designated docking spot.

Montgomery Municipal Court records show that Mr Pickett was charged with assault in the third degree. Zachery Shipman, who is also facing an assault charge in the riverfront brawl, is the complainant in the case; the complaint was filed on 26 October. Mr Pickett is set to appear in court on 21 November.

A month after the brawl, Mr Pickett said that he was “just doing my job” and was “just in shock” when he was assaulted.

“I didn’t expect this to happen at work today,” Mr Pickett recalled. “I was just expecting another peaceful, nice cruise.”

The Montgomery Police Department distinguished its findings from the recent charges. A police spokesperson told The Montgomery Advertiser on Thursday: “Neither the City [of Montgomery] nor the Montgomery Police Department filed these charges. The Montgomery Police Department’s investigation only lists Mr Pickett as a victim.”

On top of the charges, records show that Mary Todd is a complainant in a case against Roshein “RahRah” Carlton, Mr Pickett’s coworker who also came to his defence, who is now also charged with assault in the third degree; that complaint was filed on 15 August. He is expected to appear in court on 15 November.

Mr Carlton said at the time that he heard “a lot of racial slurs” being thrown around during the incident.

The Montgomery Police Chief said in the days following the brawl that there was no evidence of a hate crime.

However, the captain of the Harriott II, Capt Jim Kittrell, said he believed the attack was driven by race.

“The white guys that attacked my deckhand – and he was a senior deckhand first mate – I can’t think of any other reason they attacked him other than it being racially motivated,” he said.

The brawl grew from there. However, he conceded that after the initial exchange, the fight did not appear to be “Black and white.” He explained, “It was just shipmates trying to help a shipmate.”

 (montgomery police department)
(montgomery police department)

In the immediate aftermath of the brawl, five people – Richard Roberts, 48, Zachery Shipman, 25, Allen Todd, 23, Mary Todd, 21, and Reggie Ray, 42 – were arrested and charged in connection to the incident. The former four were charged with assault in the third degree, while Mr Ray was charged with disorderly conduct.

Ms Todd and Mr Roberts have pleaded guilty, while Mr Todd, Mr Shipman and Mr Ray have pleaded not guilty to their respective charges.