Three Alabama men are facing misdemeanor assault charges after an altercation broke out between a group of men and a dockworker on the Montgomery Riverfront this past Saturday (Aug. 5). The incident occurred during a brawl involving multiple individuals, leaving authorities to deal with the aftermath of an incident caught on viral video.

Montgomery Police Chief Darryl J. Albert announced on Tuesday that assault charges have been filed against Richard Roberts, 48; Allen Todd, 23; and Zachery Shipman, 25, in connection with the altercation. While one of the men is currently in custody, the other two were expected to turn themselves in to the police later on Tuesday.

The altercation, witnessed by numerous individuals, involved a group of white private boaters attacking Damien Pickett, a Black dockworker, as he attempted to maneuver their pontoon to make way for the Harriott II Riverboat. Reports indicate that the riverboat, carrying more than 200 passengers, was delayed for over 30 minutes as its captain and Pickett tried to persuade the group of unruly boaters to relocate their watercraft. Subsequently, several members of the private pontoon allegedly assaulted Pickett.

“We were unable to present any inciting a riot or racially biased charges at this time," Chief Albert stated during a press conference, responding to inquiries about whether hate crime charges would be applied. He further added, “Based on the elements of this crime, those elements did not exist.”

Witnesses corroborated the events leading up to the altercation. Leslie Mawhorter, 52, who was aboard the Harriott II, stated, “They just didn’t think the rules applied to them. It was so avoidable. This never had to have happened.” She noted the confrontational attitude of the private boaters, foreseeing a confrontation regardless of circumstances.

Police were called to the scene by the riverboat captain around 7 p.m. local time, and officers arrived at 7:18 p.m. Chief Albert revealed that thirteen individuals were detained, questioned, and subsequently released. The local FBI and district attorney’s offices are actively involved in the ongoing investigation.

The incident, which drew public attention after videos of the altercation circulated online, has prompted discussions about racial divisions and responses on social media platforms. The family of a 16-year-old white dockworker, who was also attacked by the white boaters while operating a nearby vessel, has called for charges against the assailants.

Albert emphasized that the incident should have never escalated to its current state.

The people of Montgomery, we’re better than that. We’re a fun city, and we don’t want this type of activity to shed a dark eye on what this city’s all about.

The Montgomery Riverfront, a popular summer destination boasting a riverboat, park, amphitheater, and stadium, remains under the oversight of the city's Parks & Recreation department. As investigations continue, we will update this story if more arrests or developments are confirmed.

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