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Alabama riverfront brawl suspects finally turn themselves in

The man that police were seeking for further questioning, Reggie Gray, has yet to get in touch with investigators

Kelly Rissman
Thursday 10 August 2023 15:37 BST
Alabama riverboat brawl: Montgomery Police Chief lists the names of suspects and charges

Two suspects who were involved in the Montgomery riverboat brawl have finally turned themselves in.

Allen Todd, 23, and Zachary Shipman, 25, surrendered to the Montgomery Police Department, a spokesperson said late Wednesday, days after they were allegedly involved in a massive fight on a dock last weekend.

Mr Todd and Mr Shipman are among three men facing one count of assault in the third degree, which is a misdemeanour, in connection with the incident. The fight began on Saturday when a deckhand on the Harriott II riverboat, Damian Pickett, confronted the owners of a pontoon boat so that the ship could dock. Viral video captured the owners, who are white, punching Mr Pickett, who is Black, before an all-out brawl ensued - largely along racial lines.

On Tuesday, Police Chief Darryl Allen identified the three suspects, adding that one of them had already turned themselves in—that person appears to be Richard Roberts, 48.

Police said they are seeking yet another man for further interviews: Reggie Gray. The police chief described him as “wielding that folding chair” in videos, as he picked up a chair and hit people over the head with it.

A spokesperson for the Montgomery Police told The Independent on Thursday that Mr Gray has not yet been in contact with the police, but assured that the authorities will “certainly” find him.

All three of the men are white, and all three were members of the pontoon boat, which was reportedly blocking the Harriott II—which was carrying 227 passengers—from docking.

So the captain’s deckhand, Mr Pickett, was taken from the riverboat to the dock to try to reason with the members of the pontoon boat, asking them to move. They did not take it well.

The next part went viral - as the owner of the pontoon boat started attacking Mr Pickett.

On Wednesday, the captain of the Harriott II, Capt Jim Kittrell, said he believed the attack was driven by race.

“The white guys that attacked my deckhand—and he was a senior deckhand first mate—I can’t think of any other reason they attacked him other than it being racially motivated,” he said.

The brawl grew from there. However, he conceded that after the initial exchange, the fight did not appear to be “Black and white.”

“It was just shipmates trying to help a shipmate,” the captain said. “They could’ve been little green men, for all they cared. When they attacked Damien, my crew was gonna jump out and do the best they could to help him out. It was my crew against the people who attacked their shipmate, that’s all it was.”

Chief Albert explicitly said that the people aboard the pontoon boat were not local to Montgomery. “This is not indicative of who we are as a city. We are much better than that,” he said.

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