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'Held on for Dear Life': Alabama Riverboat Brawl Co-Captain Says Boaters Threatened to Kill Him, Flipped Off Crew Members

damian pickett
Source: twitter

Aug. 11 2023, Published 5:00 p.m. ET

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Dock worker Damien Pickett said he "hung on for dear life" during the Alabama riverboat brawl, claiming the white boaters threatened to kill him in a written deposition.

"I can't tell you how long it lasted," he detailed about the incident.

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As previously reported, 48-year-old Richard Roberts, 23-year-old Allen Todd, and 25-year-old Zachary Shipman have been charged with assault. Mary Todd, 21, became the fourth person to be charged by Montgomery police today.

Pickett, who was seen throwing his hat up in the air amid the melee, explained what happened beforehand, sharing how crew members had asked the occupants of the pontoon boat to move "five or six times," NBC News first reported on Friday.

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After the boaters ignored their intercom request, he went to confront them and heard passengers shouting to the boaters to move their vessel. The men on the pontoon responded by "giving us the finger" for about three minutes, Pickett wrote.

Pickett said he and a dockhand were able to untie the pontoon boat and moved it slightly to the right so the Harriott II could come in — and that's when all hell broke loose.

"By that time, two people ran up behind me," Pickett wrote. "One of the men, in a red hat, yelled to Pickett, 'Don't touch that boat motherf----- or we will beat your a--."

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The riverfront worker explained that he was just doing his job, but the pontoon boat owner wasn't having it and many of his passengers rushed in to gang up on the crew.

He said they yelled out, "I'm gonna kill you, motherf-----. Beat your a--, motherf-----."

Pickett said "a tall, older white guy" threw the first punch and several others quickly jumped in the throwdown, which appeared to be racially divided in the viral video, claiming he later asked to be released from someone's grasp so he could dock the boat.

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damian pickett
Source: twitter
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The dock worker said that when he finally got checked out by a medic after the ordeal, he sat there for 25 or 30 minutes.

"My head was hurting. I felt a knot in the back of my head and the front," he wrote. Pickett had bruised ribs and bumps on his head, but no broken bones.

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This week, protestors picketed outside a Selma convenience store run by one of the suspects after he denied involvement in the brawl. Shipman's business Yelp has been flooded with negative 1-star reviews amid the ongoing case.

"Yes, I was there but I was the first to try to get away," the statement read. "I do not condone what happened. I tried to stop it and realized that I could not, so I tried to get away."



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