MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) – In Alabama, the Montgomery Police Department issued several arrest warrants after a fight broke out on the city’s riverfront.
Police were called to the scene of the scuffle on August 5 after a pontoon boat blocked a riverboat from docking. Footage shows a fight breaking out after a Black man—later identified to be the co-captain of a historic Montgomery riverboat—instructed a group of private boaters to move the pontoon.
Several men then appeared to start arguing with the co-captain, until one ran forward and hit him in the face. More bystanders then joined the brawl, with some attempting to punch or kick the guard, and others attempting to help. Police eventually arrived and begin breaking up the melee, videos show.
On Tuesday, Montgomery Police Chief Darryl Albert spoke at a news conference to discuss details of the incident. He explains that the Harriott II, a 19th-century riverboat which was carrying 227 passengers, was trying to dock on Saturday evening, but that the privately-owned boat blocked the riverboat’s designated, reserved port.
The crew tried to communicate with the private boat but “were only responded to with obscene gestures, curse words, and taunting,” according to Albert. After about 45 minutes, Harriott II co-captain Damien Pickett boarded another vessel that took take him to the pier. That’s when he was attacked while addressing the operators of the smaller boat, and the brawl kicked off.
Pickett received treatment at a local hospital that night, according to Albert. “The co-captain was doing his job. He was simply trying to move the boat just enough to where [it] can park in its identified location,” the police chief said.
During Tuesday’s press conference, Albert said that 13 people were brought in for questioning, but all were released within several hours. Arrest warrants have since been issued for three of the combatants, all described by Albert as white men. They are:
- Richard Roberts, 48, faces two outstanding warrants for assault in the third degree
- Allen Todd, 23, faces one warrant for assault in the third degree
- Zachary Simpson, 25, faces one warrant for assault in the third degree
At the time of the press conference Tuesday afternoon, Albert said one of the men turned himself, and that police expected the others to do the same. He said that more charges are likely amid the ongoing investigation. Local police were also looking to speak with Reggie Grey, a man they’ve identified as wielding a chair during the fight.
“This is not indicative of who we are as a city,” Albert said. “Our city’s much better than that.”
Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed also addressed the violent footage on X (formerly Twitter) over the weekend, promising that the instigating parties will be punished. “Last night, the Montgomery Police Department acted swiftly to detain several reckless individuals for attacking a man who was doing his job,” he wrote. “Warrants have been signed and justice will be served.”