A black Montgomery boat captain involved in a viral melee on an Alabama riverfront has been charged with third-degree assault.
Footage from the August 5 fight showed 43-year-old Damien Pickett throwing off his hat before engaging one of the rowdy men on the dock, appearing to throw punches before he was overwhelmed by at least two other men.
Other deckhands then came to his defense, with one of them whacking a man with a steelchair. The incident – a WWE-style brawl that garnered national attention – occurred when a group of white boaters accosted the dockhand.
A racially charged skirmish ensued, after which total of five other defendants – including 42-year-old wheelchair wielder Reggie Ray – were arraigned, with two pleading guilty to assault charges.
It’s now been revealed that one who has yet to come to a plea agreement is now pressing charges against Pickett – who was filmed being attacked after he tried to move the defendants’ illegally parked pontoon preventing the Harriott II Riverboat from docking.
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Damien Pickett, a 43-year-old riverboat captain involved in a viral melee in Alabama this past Auguest, has been charged with third-degree assault, court records have revealed
The incident – a WWE-esque brawl where several rushed to the dock worker’s defense – occurred in August when a group of white boaters accosted Pickett
One of the white defendants, Zachery ‘Chase’ Shipman, is now pressing charges against 43-year-old Pickett, who is facing a misdemeanor assault case as a result
As a result, he is now facing charges of third-degree assault – a misdemeanor – for which is scheduled to be arraigned later this month.
The development – first reported by Selma-based WAKA-8 – comes three months after Pickett penned a handwritten statement to cops eventually used against his attackers, who became incensed when Picket moved their vessel so he could dock.
In the statement, Pickett tells police how his captain had asked the group ‘at least five or six times’ to move from the city-run riverboat’s designated spot before being bombarded with blows.
The group, he said, responded by ‘giving us the finger and packing up to leave’, before rushing back in a rage when he moved their vessel ‘three steps to the right.’
Footage of the ensuing fight – which occurred on August 5 at Montgomery’s Riverfront Park – shows the rest, with suspect Zachery Shipman, the one pressing charges against Pickett, allegedly running up on the river-boat captain.
A sucker punch from 48-year-old defendant Richard Roberts soon follows, spurring Pickett – previously peaceful – to toss his hat aside and start defending himself.
Roberts – pleaded guilty to two counts of assault in the third degree and was given a suspended sentence of four months of jail time – is then seen throwing a series of punches, many of which Pickett dodged and weaved without attacking back.
Attempting to first outwrestle his attacker, Pickett was then attacked by Todd’s 21-year-old girlfriend Mary Todd, who last month made a plea agreement that had her original charge of third-degree assault downgraded to harassment.
Zachary Shipman (far left) was among four white members of the brawl to be arrested and charged for the fight – before a man who rushed to Pickett’s defense with a folding chair became the fifth to be charged
The mugshots of Allen Todd, who has pleaded not guilty to his part in the August 5 skirmish, and Richard Roberts, who pleaded guilty last month after he was filmed sucker punching the defendant
Mary Todd, 21, turned herself and pleaded guilty to get her charge downgraded to harassment. She is reportedly the girlfriend of Shipman, seen at right
Ray (seen here before posting bail in August) was later arrested after being charged with disorderly conduct
Cops handling the case say he was the one shown in video hitting Roberts with a folding chair
A wild brawl that saw another white defendant in 23-year-old Allen Todd also jump in ensued, and was captured from multiple angles by several horrified onlookers.
After the fray, all four – including Shipman – were seen on the dock in cuffs, while Ray turned himself later after being charged with disorderly conduct.
Cops handling the case say he was the one shown in video hitting Roberts – who apologized in court to Pickett last month – with a folding chair.
Pickett, meanwhile, maintains that he had only been doing his job, and that he was repeatedly punched in the face and hit from behind as he tried to defend himself.
Before appearing on Good Morning America in September to speak about what happened, he recalled to police in his statement: ‘I went to the ground. I think I bit one of them. All I can hear Imma kill you.’
Crystal Warren, the mother of a 16-year-old deckhand who swam to Pickett’s aid during the melee, wrote in a police report that racial slurs were used against Pickett during the brawl.
‘You could here (sic) men yelling ‘f**k that n****r’ and the men came down to fight my son,’ she wrote in her report.
However, when asked about her statements in court this past month, Warren testified under oath that she did not hear a racial slur.
Pickett was initially confronted after moving another group’s pontoon in Montgomery, Alabama
The group jumped Pickett, throwing him to the ground and, according to witnesses, yelling racial slurs
Sixteen-year-old Aaren Hamilton-Rudolph, who was working on the boat, jumped in to the water and swam to Pickett when he saw him come under attack
Hamilton-Rudolph had only been on the job for two weeks, but said he felt compelled to help when he saw his colleague coming under attack
Pickett, Hamilton-Rudolph and Roshein ‘Rahrah’ Carlton, (right) who works as a steward on the Harriott II and is a years-long friend of Pickett, in September. Due to the above viral video, case garnered national attention
Roshein ‘Rahrah’ Carlton, who works as a steward on the Harriott II and is a years-long friend of Pickett, told reporters he heard the group of white boat owners yelling racial slurs.
‘It’s our duty as– as our coworker, as a team, to go and aid and assist him,’ he said.
Eventually, dozens joined in the fight – including 16-year-old Aaren Hamilton-Rudolph, who worked on the Harriott II and was filmed jumping in to the water and swimming to the dock to help Pickett.
He’d only been on the job for two weeks at the time, but felt compelled to step in.
‘When they first started hitting on him, no one helped. I couldn’t just watch and let him get beat on. Everyone else was just recording it,’ he said.
During his appearance on GMA, Pickett said he is grateful he was not more seriously injured.
‘I got some bumps and bruises here and there, I am here by the grace of God.
‘I went to work to work, not to be in a fight or get jumped,’ he said.
He further wrote in his police statement that he couldn’t tell ‘how long [the attack] lasted’ and just ‘grabbed one of them and just held on for dear life.’
As part of her guilty plea, Todd will have to pay $357 in court costs and complete anger management classes, while Roberts – after apologizing to a present Pickett and court – was given a suspended sentence of four months of jail time, which he will serve on the weekends in the Perry County Jail.
Roberts – after apologizing to a present Pickett and court – was given a suspended sentence of four months of jail time, which he will serve on the weekends in the Perry County Jail, He is seen leaving the Montgomery Municipal Court Friday, October 27
He told Pickett during his hearing: ‘I think under different circumstances we could be friends,
‘You might not think so,’ he added, before conceding: ‘I know you were doing your job.’
As for Todd and Shipman, both have maintained their innocence, and are set to stand trial next Thursday.
The other defendant, Ray, is slated to have his hearing on November 16. All, like Pickett, face chares of third-degree assault.
Pickett’s arraignment, meanwhile, is slated for November 21. He has yet to comment on the impending case.
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk