MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) – The Montgomery Police Department has issued several arrest warrants after a fight broke out on the city’s riverfront over the weekend.
Police were called to the scene of the brawl on Saturday, after a pontoon boat was reported to be blocking a riverboat from docking. Footage of the incident shows a fight breaking out after a Black man, later identified to be the co-captain of a historic Montgomery riverboat, attempted to instruct a group of private boaters to move the pontoon.
Several men then appeared to start arguing with the co-captain, until one ran forward and hit him in the face. More bystanders then joined the brawl, with some attempting to punch or kick the guard, and others attempting to help.
Police eventually arrived and begin breaking up the melee, videos show.
Video of the incident went viral on social media over the swift action of a 16-year-old teen, dubbed “Black Aquaman,” who jumped in and swam across the river to help.
The teen, identified only as Aaren, became the subject of praise for his actions.
“In the face of adversity, Aaren selflessly came to the rescue of a fellow colleague, showcasing courage beyond his years,” a family representative said in a statement. “We are immensely proud of his actions and the values he exemplifies, standing as an inspiration to us all.”
On Tuesday, Montgomery Police Chief Darryl Albert spoke at a news conference to discuss details of the incident.
Albert said the Harriott II, a 19th-century riverboat which was carrying 227 passengers, was attempting to dock on Saturday evening, but a privately-owned boat was blocking the Harriott’s designated and reserved port.
The Harriott’s crew tried to communicate with the individuals on the private boat over a PA system, but “were only responded to with obscene gestures, curse words and taunting,” according to Albert.
After approximately 45 minutes, Harriott II co-captain Damien Pickett then boarded another vessel to take him to the pier. He was attacked while attempting to speak with the operators of the smaller boat, after which the large brawl ensued.
Pickett received treatment at a local hospital that night, according to Albert.
“The co-captain was doing his job. He was simply trying to move the boat just enough to where [it] can park in its identified location,” Albert said.
During Tuesday’s press conference, Albert said 13 people were brought in for questioning following the brawl, but all were released several hours later. Arrest warrants have since been issued for three of the combatants, all of whom Albert described as white males:
- Richard Roberts, 48, faces two outstanding warrants for assault in the third degree
- Allen Todd, 23, faces one warrant for assault in the third degree
- Zachary Simpson, 25, faces one warrant for assault in the third degree
As of 1 p.m. Tuesday, Albert said one of the men had turned himself in, and the other two were expected to follow suit in the hour that followed. The Montgomery Police Department (MPD) also requested to speak with Reggie Grey, a man they identified as wielding a chair during the fight.
He also said more charges are likely amid the ongoing investigation.
“This is not indicative of who we are as a city,” Albert said. “Our city’s much better than that.”
The Montgomery Police Department is currently soliciting any additional video or information concerning the brawl. Albert said reports and footage can be sent to email@example.com, and information can be submitted via the department’s Secret Witness service at 334-625-4000.
Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed also addressed the violent footage on X (formerly Twitter) over the weekend, promising that the instigating parties will be punished.
“Last night, the Montgomery Police Department acted swiftly to detain several reckless individuals for attacking a man who was doing his job,” Mayor Reed wrote. “Warrants have been signed and justice will be served.”