Mon. Feb 26th, 2024
alert-–-five-people-charged-in-alabama-riverfront-brawl-are-set-to-go-on-trial-and-learn-their-fate-todayAlert – Five people charged in Alabama riverfront brawl are set to go on trial and learn their fate today

Those charged in the infamous Alabama riverfront brawl that occurred in August will stand trial today and also learn their fates, according to reports. 

Allen Todd, 24; Mary Todd, 21; Reggie Ray, 42; Richard Roberts, 48; and Zachary Shipman, 26, have been charged for their roles in the fracas, which many believe to have been racially motivated. 

The Todds and Shipman are facing one count of third-degree assault while Roberts is facing two counts of third-degree assault with Ray facing a disorderly conduct count. 

The trial will take place Friday with the judge expected to rule by the end of the day, reports CNN. All five are being tried separately. 

The four white boaters, who police said were filmed hitting or shoving a Black riverboat captain in Montgomery, pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor assault charges at Montgomery Municipal Court in September. 

Allen Todd

Richard Roberts

 Allen Todd and Richard Roberts were also charged

Mary Todd, 21

Zachary Shipman, 25

Mary Todd, 21, turned herself in last month along with her boyfriend Zachary Shipman

Ray, who police said was filmed swinging a folding chair and hitting people in the subsequent melee, pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor disorderly conduct charges. 

Videos of the brawl were widely shared on social media and spawned a multitude of memes, jokes, parodies, reenactments and even T-shirts.

Richard White, a lawyer representing one of the white boaters, told WSFA that he wants to make sure his client is treated fairly given the national attention.

Montgomery Police Chief Darryl Albert told reporters in August that the brawl began when the owner of a pontoon boat refused to move from a docking spot designated for the city-owned Harriott II riverboat. 

The riverboat co-captain took a smaller vessel to shore to move the pontoon boat so the Harriott II could dock and let its 200 or so passengers disembark.

Videos of the brawl showed the participants largely divided along racial lines. Several white men punched or shoved the Black riverboat co-captain after he took a separate vessel to shore and tried to move their pontoon boat. 

The white boaters’ private vessel was docked in a spot designated for the city-owned Harriott II riverboat, on which more than 200 passengers were waiting to disembark.

The videos then showed mostly Black people rushing to the co-captain’s defense, including a Black teenage riverboat crew member who swam to the dock. 

A woman at the Alabama riverfront brawl says she heard a white attacker say 'F**k that n*****' to the black deckhand at the center of the shocking incident

A woman at the Alabama riverfront brawl says she heard a white attacker say ‘F**k that n*****’ to the black deckhand at the center of the shocking incident

Four of the people who have been charged so far are shown sitting on the dock in handcuffs

Four of the people who have been charged so far are shown sitting on the dock in handcuffs

The videos also showed the ensuing brawl that included a Black man hitting a white person with a folding chair.

Jim Kittrell, the captain of Harriott II, told The Daily Beast that he thought race might have been a factor in the initial attack on his co-captain, but the resulting melee was not a ‘Black and white thing.’

‘This was our crew upset about these idiots,’ Kittrell also told WACV radio station.

He later explained that several members of his crew, seen confronting the pontoon boat party after the riverboat docked, ‘felt they had to retaliate, which was unfortunate.’

‘I wish we could have stopped it from happening but, when you see something like that, it was difficult. It was difficult for me to sit there in the wheelhouse watching him being attacked,’ Kittrell told the station.

Major Saba Coleman of the Montgomery Police Department said in August that hate crime charges were ruled out after the department consulted with the local FBI. 

But several observers noted the presence of a hate motivation, or lack thereof, on the part of the pontoon boat party was not why the event resonated so strongly.

‘All these individuals having smartphones and cameras have democratized media and information. In the past, it was a very narrow scope on what news was being reported and from what perspectives,’ NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson said.

The technology, Johnson added, ‘opened up an opportunity for America as a whole to understand the impact of racism, the impact of violence and the opportunity to create a narrative that’s more consistent with keeping African Americans and other communities safe.’

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