Black Alabama boat captain, in middle of wild brawl caught in viral video, now accused of assault. PHOTO COURTESY OF YOUTUBE
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) – A Black riverboat co-captain at the center of an Alabama riverfront brawl that drew national attention has been accused of misdemeanor assault in the melee by one of the white boaters charged in the ﬁght.
Court records show one of the white men accused of assaulting the co-captain during the August brawl ﬁled a complaint last month saying the cocaptain hit him ﬁrst during the chaotic melee. The man`s complaint charges the co-captain with misdemeanor assault, according to court records.
"I was not trying to ﬁght," the man wrote in a statement. The complaint was ﬁled Oct. 26 ahead of the man`s Nov. 16 trial on a misdemeanor assault charge of hitting and kicking the riverboat co-captain.
Montgomery Mayor Steven L. Reed and police Chief Darryl J. Albert issued a statement Thursday reiterating that the city and police department did not ﬁle the charges against the co-captain and that the police investigation considers him to be a victim.
The August riverfront melee in Montgomery drew national attention after bystanders ﬁlmed white boaters hitting a Black riverboat co-captain and others rushing to his defense. Video of the ﬁght was shared widely online, sparking countless memes and parodies.
Montgomery police said the brawl began when the white boaters refused to move their pontoon boat so the cityowned Harriott II riverboat could dock in its designated space. The boat’s cocaptain said he was attacked after moving the pontoon boat a few feet to make way for the riverboat.
Five other people were previously charged in the brawl. Two white boaters previously pleaded guilty to charges of misdemeanor assault or harassment. Three other people, including a Black man who was ﬁlmed swinging a folding chair, have upcoming court dates.