The Black riverboat co-captain who went viral for his valiant efforts to fight off a group of white boaters in Alabama in August has been charged by the city of Montgomery with third-degree assault.
According to city court records, a complaint against Dameion Pickett, who has a scheduled court appearance on Nov. 21, was brought by 25-year-old Zachery Shipman, one of the four people charged with hitting Pickett as a brawl broke out on the dock. The other three were Richard Roberts, 48; Allen Todd, 23; and Mary Todd, 21.
Pickett and a 16-year-old white male were originally deemed the victims in the viral incident by the Montgomery Police Department.
Montgomery Police Chief Darryl Albert previously said that the brawl broke out when Pickett, a co-captain of the Harriott II riverboat, “peacefully” tried to move an unmanned pontoon boat that was blocking the riverboat from docking and disembarking its 227 passengers.
Pickett said he had first used the riverboat’s PA system to ask the owners of the pontoon boat to move but they responded by “giving us the finger” and walking off. He and another deckhand then took a separate boat to shore and moved the private boat “three steps to the right.”
“The co-captain [Pickett] was doing his job,” Albert said. “However it quickly escalated.”
Pickett said two people then ran back, including one who threatened to beat him for touching the boat. Several of the boaters were then captured on viral video punching and kicking Pickett.
Capt. Jim Kittrell, whose Black crewmen then faced off against the white assailants once the Harriott II docked, told The Daily Beast in August that he believed the attack was “racially motivated.”
However, Albert said at the time that investigators did not have the evidence “to present any insight in a riot or racially biased charges at this time.”
Reggie Ray, 42, who police say joined in the melee and was the man seen hitting multiple white boaters with a folding chair, was charged with disorderly conduct on Aug. 11.
Last month, Roberts pleaded guilty to two assault charges and received a four-month suspended sentence and 100 hours of community service, while Todd pleaded guilty to harassment and was sentenced to anger management classes.
Pickett spoke about the fight in an exclusive interview with Good Morning America that aired on Sept. 25, saying 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.