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Co-Captain in Alabama Boat Brawl Describes Threats, Chaotic Attack

The worker who was attacked in the Montgomery, Alabama, boat melee on Saturday said in a written statement to police that the occupants of the pontoon boat involved in the fight were advised “five or six times” to move their vessel before the worker intervened, according to media outlets who obtained the statement.

Damien Pickett, co-captain of the riverboat Harriott II, was attacked by several individuals after attempting to move their private pontoon boat that was blocking the river cruise ship from docking in its designated space near Montgomery Riverfront Park. The incident was caught on camera by several witnesses and has gained national attention after being shared on social media.

On Thursday, 21-year-old Mary Todd, who was involved in the brawl, turned herself in to police and was charged with third-degree assault, according to the Montgomery Police Department (MPD). Todd is the fourth person to be arrested and charged in connection to the fight, following Allen Todd, 23, and Zachary Shipman, 25, who turned themselves in on Wednesday. Police also have 48-year-old Richard Roberts in custody.

Co-Captain in Alabama Boat Brawl Describes Attack
The Harriott II riverboat on Tuesday remains docked on the Alabama riverfront in downtown Montgomery. Co-captain of the riverboat, Damien Pickett, gave a written account to police on Saturday after he was attacked while attempting to move a pontoon boat out of the Harriott II’s designated docking spot.
Julie Bennett/Getty Images

According to Pickett’s witness deposition, which was handwritten and filed with the MPD hours after the fight, boat workers called on the Harriott II’s intercom “at least five or six times” for the pontoon boat to relocate before Pickett got off the riverboat to move the smaller vessel.

Pickett also recalled that the men on the pontoon responded to the orders by “giving us the finger” for several minutes, according to a report from NBC News, which obtained Pickett’s statement.

The co-captain eventually untied the pontoon boat with help from a 16-year-old dockhand and moved it “three steps to the right” so that the Harriott II could dock.

“By that time, two people ran up behind me,” Pickett wrote to police.

Pickett wrote that one of the men involved in the fight yelled to him, “Don’t touch that boat motherf***** or we will beat you’re a**.”

“I told them, ‘No, you won’t,'” read the statement. He also reportedly told the men as they kept threatening him, “Do what you’ve got to do, I’m just doing my job.”

Pickett wrote that he then remembered being tackled to the ground after trying to reason with the pontoon occupants.

“By that time, a tall, older white guy came over and hit me in the face,” Pickett said. “I took my hat off and threw it in the air. Somebody hit me from behind. I started choking the older guy in front of me so he couldn’t anymore, pushing him back at the same time.”

“Then the guy in the red shorts came up and tackled me … I went to the ground,” he continued. “I think I hit one of them.”

The victim also recalled that the attackers repeated threats as they surrounded him, such as “I’m gonna kill you” or “beat you’re a**, motherf*****,” read NBC News’ report.

In the middle of the brawl, Pickett managed to dock the Harriott II. He also said that a tall Black man and a security guard helped pull people off of him. A co-worker of his had also “jumped into the water and was pushing people and fighting,” Pickett wrote.

“The security guard was trying to get the lady in red to leave; she wouldn’t listen,” the statement continued. “People from off the boat and spectators were coming down the back end of the dock. The guy who started it all was choking my sister. I hit him, grabbed her and moved her … I turned around and MPD had a taser in my face. I told him I was the one being attacked and could I finish doing my job.”

Pickett said he took time to help passengers off of the Harriott II and apologized to them “for the inconvenience,” although they told him he had done “nothing wrong.”

“Some of them were giving me cards with their names and numbers on it. Some said they had it all on film, so I pointed them out to MPD,” he added.

Newsweek reached out to MPD on Thursday night via email for more information.

Videos of the incident that were shared to social media show Pickett, a Black man, being ganged up on by several white individuals. MPD previously told Newsweek that officers “located a large group of subjects engaged in a physical altercation” once they responded to the brawl at about 7 p.m. Saturday.

Lauryn Lauren, who captured the melee on video and posted it to her Facebook account, previously said during an interview with Hot 105.8 radio station that she and other witnesses went down to the dock in an attempt to deescalate the chaos but left “cause they didn’t want to go to jail.”

“I felt like it was just the privilege and audacity,” Lauren said. “These people are still sitting here after they have assaulted this man. If that ain’t privilege or whatever you think, you better be held accountable.”

The captain of the Harriott II, Jim Kittrell, also said on Alabama’s 93.1 radio station earlier this week that it was not the first time boat workers had encountered the pontoon occupants who attacked Pickett.

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