The Alabama riverfront brawl now includes allegations of white men dropping the n-word and threatening to use a gun.
The mother of one of the victims in the altercation alleged in a sworn statement to police that “you could hear men yelling ‘f**k that n***er’” as the Black co-captain of a riverboat tried to move a pontoon boat occupying the riverboat’s docking location.
Soon afterward, the confrontation escalated into a large caught-on-video fight that has since led police to issue arrest warrants for three men, all of them from the private pontoon boat, Montgomery Police Chief Darryl J. Albert said in a news conference Tuesday.
Richard Roberts, 48, was charged with two counts of third-degree assault, while Allen Todd, 23, and Zachary Shipman, 25, were each charged with one such count, Albert said Tuesday, describing the three as White men. At that time, one of the men was in custody while the other two were expected to turn themselves in. They had yet to do so as of Wednesday morning, Mayor Steven Reed told “CNN This Morning.”
CNN’s attempts to reach each of the men for comment have been unsuccessful.
The victims in the assaults were identified as Damien Pickett, the co-captain, and a 16-year-old White boy who had transported Pickett to the dock in a small boat.
The witness also alleged in her sworn statement that Roberts punched her son – the 16-year-old – in the chest as he attempted to “pull people off” of the co-captain, who video shows was knocked to the ground and struck by a group of several White people. Additionally, she alleged another man in the group said he “was getting his gun,” at which point he was tackled by an employee of the riverboat, the Harriott II.
CNN is not identifying the mother or the victim of the assault because he is a minor.
Authorities looked into whether there was enough evidence to charge for a hate crime or inciting a riot, but the actions did not meet the criteria, Albert said at Tuesday’s news conference, though he told CNN Tuesday night authorities could “amend charges as necessary” as the investigation continues.
Police have “many, many more interviews to conduct,” the chief said Tuesday.
“As we identify additional folks that we need to talk to, we will ask them to come in and we’ll try to locate them and do further investigation to see if the charges are appropriate,” Albert said.
A man seen wielding a chair in social media videos during the brawl is being asked to contact police, Albert said.
The fight largely broke down along racial lines in a city with a fraught history of racial violence. Investigators looked into whether there was enough evidence to charge for a hate crime or inciting a riot, but the actions did not meet the criteria, Albert said.
In all, 13 people were detained and questioned for several hours Saturday before being released, the chief said.
“I don’t think we’re near finished,” the chief said. “We have a lot more work to do on this.”
“We have hundreds of videos and witness statements at this time and, I would say at this point it is highly likely that more arrests and more individuals will face charges,” Albert told CNN’s Sara Sidner on Tuesday night.
Here’s what else we know about what unfolded at the riverfront dock Saturday and the ongoing investigation.