The recent Montgomery Riverfront group fight has resulted in multiple assault charges against three of the pontoon boaters. Law enforcement also requests that the Black man seen wielding a folding chair contact them in the next 24 hours.
In a press conference on Tuesday (Aug. 8), Montgomery Police Chief Darryl J. Albert revealed the identities of the charged boaters and explained the events leading up to the viral brawl.
Boaters Face Misdemeanor Assault Charges In Alabama Waterfront Brawl
Richard Roberts, a white, 48-year-old male, has two “outstanding warrants for assault in the third degree.” Allen Todd, also a white male, age 23, is charged with one count of assault in the third degree. Zachary Shipman, a white male, age 25, is charged with one count of assault in the third degree.
In Alabama, third-degree assault is a Class C misdemeanor, per CNN, and could result in up to one year in prison.
Roberts is already in Selma Police custody, and the other two are expected to turn themselves in today (Aug. 8). Officials also hope to transfer all three men to MPD custody today.
Chief Albert repeatedly mentioned that the incident was “isolated” and not a reflection of Montgomery. He added that the boaters, specifically, were not Montgomery residents but from Selma and Orange County.
Meanwhile, the MPD is asking that the chair wielder Reggie Gray, 42, contact them for “further interviews and, as part of this investigation.”
RELATED: WATCH: Montgomery Mayor Reacts To Viral Riverfront Fight Amid Four Arrest Warrants
Montgomery Police Explain What Led To Riverfront Brawl
As previously reported, circulating videos captured a multi-people fight on Saturday (Aug. 5) that began with the assault of a dock worker.
Chief Albert identified the employee as Damien Pickett, the co-captain of the Harriott II Riverboat. On the day of the incident, the riverboat was “fully operational,” returning from a 2-hour cruise featuring 227 passengers. Upon return, the pontoon boat was parked in Harriott II’s designated area, per the “gangway access and mooring requirements.”
The riverboat’s captain did not dock for “40 to 45 minutes” because it could not safely park. Instead, the captain tried contacting the boat owner and operators via a PA system. The owner and his family responded with “obscene gestures, curse words, and taunting.”
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A separate, smaller vessel operated by a 16-year-old white male transported the co-captain from the Harriott II to the dock. He attempted to converse with the boat owner, but that quickly went left, as multiple viral videos show.
Chief Albert described Pickett and the juvenile as the victims in this case. The teen’s mother filed a warrant against Roberts for striking the 16-year-old.
“As the co-captain approached the dock and attempted to peacefully move the boat over, just enough so that that Harriott could park, the owners of the boat confronted him in a very hostile manner. There was words exchanged and then it turned into a fisted encounter that you’ve all seen. So, the co-captain was doing his job.”
Pickett received treatment at a local hospital on Saturday night.
These white people jumped this black security guard at the Riverfront. The staff got off the boat and it turned into WWE Smackdown. I’m so proud of Montgomery 😭😂 pic.twitter.com/4DG5bShXfz
— Housatlantavegas (@_dreadadon) August 6, 2023
Montgomery Chief Says Says There Isn’t Enough Evidence For A Hate Crime Or Riot Incitement Charge
The police chief revealed that the Harriott II’s captain made the initial “disturbance” call at 7 p.m. But, police didn’t dispatch units to the scene until 7:15 p.m. after multiple calls came. Within three minutes, officers were on the scene.
Ultimately, officers detained 13 people and took them to MPD headquarters on Saturday. Police released everyone after several hours of interviews but gave instructions “on how to secure warrants.”
Chief Albert also emphasized that his department collaborated with the local FBI and the district attorney to determine the validity of hate crime and riot incitement charges.
“…it didn’t fit the criteria for that. So the charges that we have pending, assault on the third, at this time, are appropriate charges for what we seen and the behavior we seen on social media,” the chief said.
Investigations are ongoing as the MPD continues reviewing media and public footage. Chief Albert clarified that “no one is off-limits,” and there’s still “a lot more work to do on this.” He warned residents that any thoughts of retaliation would not be tolerated in Montgomery.
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