This past August, a brawl took place on a riverfront in Montgomery, Alabama after a group of white boat riders purportedly yelled racial slurs and physically attacked a Black co-captain who asked them to move their pontoon boat. Millions watched as dock workers and passengers seemingly jumped to the co-captain’s defense, which resulted in multiple arrests.
Now, Dameion Pickett, the co-captain involved, is reportedly being charged with third-degree assault.
After hearing the news, many people online falsely assumed that the assault charges against Pickett were being brought by the Montgomery Police Department, with one user writing: "Montgomery needs to get its act together and drop those charges."
Montgomery needs to get its act together and drop those charges. https://t.co/lMcg0G3xYi
— La Femme Negrita (@LaFemme_Negrita) November 9, 2023
@LaFemme_Negrita / @Phil_Lewis_
It turns out, the assault charges against Pickett are apparently unrelated to both the city of Montgomery and the police department. Here's everything we know so far:
1.Assault charges against Pickett were filed on October 26 in Montgomery Municipal Court, according to Alabama News.
2.The mayor of Montgomery and the Montgomery Police Chief released a statement explaining their lack of involvement with the charges brought against 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."
3.Instead, the complainant reportedly lists Zachary Shipman, one of the passengers who was on the pontoon boat. According to the Alabama Political Reporter, Shipman claims Pickett was the one who struck him first, saying, “I was not trying to fight,” in a statement.
The response online has been a combination of shock and anger from viewers who watched the viral brawl videos back in August. Sunny Hostin, host of ABC's The View, reacted to the charges against Pickett, writing: "Whaaaaaat? For defending himself??"
Whaaaaaat?!!! For defending himself??? https://t.co/bCRi9o2Veu
— Sunny Hostin (@sunny) November 9, 2023
@Phil_Lewis_ / @sunny
Another user defended Pickett's actions, writing: "We've all seen the videos...the way those white men were attacking him, I've always felt like he would've been seriously injured or even possibly killed if he hadn't started to defend himself. All of those people came to rescue him... I'm speechless. Nothing's changed in 150 years."
weve all seen all the videos…the way those white men were attacking him, ive always felt like he wouldve been seriously injured or even possibly killed if he hadnt started to defend himself + all those people came to rescue him…im speechless. nothing's changed in 150 years. https://t.co/VT5Y9IkpmG
— ніхто / stream tliiasaw!! (@fiddlerotroof) November 9, 2023
@Phil_Lewis_ / @filddlerotroof
Agreeing, another user pointed out the injustices that Black Americans face: "Being Black in America means that 'stand your ground' or self defense doesn't apply to you."
Being Black in America means that “stand your ground” or self defense doesn’t apply to you. What an unacceptable outcome.
— LenaB🐝 (@ShulenaB) November 9, 2023
Pickett is scheduled to be arraigned on November 21 according to municipal court records. We'll update you as things develop.