Though it was widely reported that the city of Montgomery formally charged the Black co-captain of the commercial cruise riverboat Harriott II with third-degree assault, those claims have been proven to be false.
On Thursday, Montgomery Mayor Steven L. Reed and police Chief Darryl J. Albert issued a statement Thursday explaining that the city and police department refuse to file charges against Dameion Pickett. They also confirmed that the police investigation considers Pickett to be a victim.
Their statement said as much:
“The City of Montgomery and Montgomery Police Department have been made aware that one of the individuals involved in the incident at Montgomery Riverfront Park on August 5, 2023, has filed charges against (Harriott) II co-captain Dameion Pickett. Neither the City nor the Montgomery Police Department filed these charges. The Montgomery Police Department’s investigation only lists Mr. Pickett as a victim.”
The brawl started when Pickett asked the owners of a private boat docked in the space of the Harriott II to move. Numerous cellphone recordings from passengers on the Harriott II show Pickett being physically outnumbered and assaulted by several white assailants.
Black witnesses quickly intervened on Pickett’s behalf to help defend him, with the footage throwing social media into a complete frenzy. The folding chair became a funny symbol of Black power.
Last month, Richard Roberts and Mary Todd of Selma, Ala. pleaded guilty to charges stemming from the brawl in Montgomery municipal court. Pickett was in the courtroom for Roberts’s plea. Roberts also issued an apology to Pickett.
Cases are imminent for three other people involved, including Shipman, Allen Todd and Reggie Ray, who allegedly hit a woman with a folding chair.
Crystal Warren, the mother of a 16-year-old deckhand who got wrapped up in the fight, said in a police report that someone used the N-word against Pickett during the incident.
“You could here (sic) men yelling ‘f**k that n****r’ and the men came down to fight my son,” she wrote in her report. However, during an October court appearance, Warren testified that she did not hear the slur.