Riverboat dock worker involved in viral Montgomery, Alabama brawl charged with assault: records

ByDeena Zaru and Tesfaye Negussie ABCNews logo
Thursday, November 9, 2023
Riverboat dock worker involved in viral brawl charged: court records
The Alabama riverboat dock worker who was involved in a brawl that went viral on social media has now been charged with assault.

MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- The Alabama riverboat dock worker who was involved in a brawl that went viral on social media has now been charged with assault, according to Montgomery Municipal Court records.

Dameion Pickett is due for arraignment on the misdemeanor charge on Nov. 21. It is unclear if Pickett, who was formally charged Oct. 27, has retained an attorney.

Pickett was initially identified by the Montgomery Police Department as a victim in an altercation that led to a massive brawl on Aug. 5 at Riverfront Park in Montgomery, Alabama, which began over a dispute about a pontoon boat that was blocking a space designated for a riverboat.

According to court records reviewed by ABC News, the complainant is Zachery Shipman, one of the individuals who was initially charged in the incident.

The altercation initially led to charges against five individuals, while Pickett and a 16-year-old boy were identified as victims by police.

Richard Roberts was charged with two counts of assault in the third degree, court records show. Meanwhile, Shipman, Allen Todd and Mary Todd were all charged with assault in the third degree. All have pleaded not guilty.

ABC News has reached out to the suspects and their attorneys, but requests for comment were not returned.

A fifth arrest was made days later when Reggie Ray, a Black man who was seen attacking someone with a beach chair in a viral video, was charged with disorderly conduct. He also pleaded not guilty.

Ray's attorney, Lee Merritt, told ABC News in September that his client had a "limited role" in the brawl and was "involuntarily roped into the disorderly conduct initiated by a violent white mob."

Asked if there's any evidence of a hate crime, Albert said that police "looked at every avenue" and left "no stone unturned" but "were unable to present any insight in a riot or racially biased charges at this time."

ABC News has reached out to the Montgomery Police Department for comment about the charges against Pickett.

Montgomery Police Department Chief Darryl Albert identified Pickett and an unnamed 16-year-old white male who was allegedly struck by the owners and operators of the private boat as victims in this case during a press conference on Aug. 7.

Pickett spoke out about the incident in an exclusive interview with "Good Morning America" that aired on Sept. 25 and said that he was "just in shock" when he was assaulted.

As the Harriott II was ending a dinner cruise and getting ready to dock, a private pontoon boat was illegally parked in its place, preventing the riverboat from docking safely, according to Pickett.

Pickett and witnesses aboard the Harriott II who spoke with ABC News said crew members made several attempts to ask the owner of the pontoon boat to move it, but their calls were ignored.

"Everybody was yelling, "Could y'all move y'all boat?" Pickett said.

It was then that Pickett said he got off the riverboat "by the captain's orders" and went to move the pontoon boat himself.

"I was, like, 'I'm just doing my job," said.

Moments after Pickett moved the boat, videos show that he was confronted and punched by a man and, soon after, others attacked Pickett and were later identified by police as a boat owner and his family.

Pickett said that after he was assaulted, he had to defend himself.

"This man just put his hand on me. I was, like ... it's my job, but I'm still defending myself at the same time. So when he touched me, I was, like, 'It's on,'" Pickett said.