The Alabama riverboat co-captain attacked at the Montgomery Riverfront said he “held on for dear life” while being battered by the unruly boaters — who had also caused them “trouble” in previous run-ins.
Damien Pickett said his crew asked the occupants of a pontoon boat “at least five or six times” to move from the docking spot dedicated to the Harriott II riverboat, according to a handwritten deposition obtained by NBC News.
They responded by “giving us the finger” for several minutes, Pickett said.
After being ignored, Pickett and a dockhand then untied their boat and moved it “three steps to the right” and tied it again, he told authorities.
“By that time, two people ran up behind me,” he wrote, saying it included a man in a red hat who yelled, “Don’t touch that boat motherf–ker or we will beat your ass.”
“I told them, ‘No you won’t,’” he said, saying he told them when they kept threatening him: “Do what you’ve got to do. I’m just doing my job.”
Pickett said one of the men called another other and “They both were very drunk.”
While another man tried to “calm them down,” the boat’s owner arrived and “started getting loud.
“He got into my face. ‘This belongs to the f–king public.’ I told him this was a city dock,” Pickett recalled in his statement.
“By that time, a tall, older white guy came over and hit me in the face,” he said.
“I took my hat off and threw it in the air. Somebody hit me from behind. I started choking the older guy in front of me so he couldn’t anymore, pushing him back at the same time,” Pickett wrote.Someone then “tackled” him, he wrote. “I went to the ground. I think I hit one of them.
“I think I bit one of them, and I can hear them saying, ‘I’m going to kill you motherf–ker,’” he wrote.
“I can’t tell you how long it lasted. I grabbed someone and held on for dear life.”
After struggling to his feet, Pickett said he looked up and saw a colleague. “One of my co-workers had jumped in the water and was pushing people and fighting,” he wrote.
“The guy, the one who started it all was choking my sister,” he wrote, according to WSFA, which identified the suspect as Richard Roberts, 48.
“I hit him, grabbed her, and turned around, and [police] had a taser in my face. I told him I was attacked and said can I finish my job? Because the back of the boat wasn’t tied,” Pickett wrote.
When the situation was brought under control, he said he let off his passengers with the help of police. “I was apologizing to them for the inconvenience. Some of them gave me cards with their names and numbers,” he wrote.
Pickett said he was checked out at a hospital after the attack, where he found out that he had “no broken bones, just a few bruised ribs and a lump” on the head.
His fellow captain, Jim Kittrell, told Alabama’s 93.1 radio station that this wasn’t the first time he had trouble with the same boaters.
“This is the same group that comes every year … we’ve had trouble with them in the past, but just like jokey things,” he told the station.
“Like, a couple of years ago, this same group was here. We came back from a cruise and our golf cart was missing. …we finally found it in the Hampton Inn lobby,” he said.
“We were going to press charges then, but the police talked us out of it.”
Kittrell previously said he believed the attack was “racially motivated,” but police say hate charges are not justified.
So far four people have been arrested for the attack, with police saying more are expected.
Roberts, Allen Todd, 23, and Zachary Shipman, 25, were charged Tuesday with assault, while a fourth suspect, Mary Todd, 21, was arrested Thursday after she turned herself into Montgomery police.
Police did not disclose what role she played in the brawl, but video shows a woman with features similar to Todd’s hurling punches and shoving others during the chaos.
It was unclear whether Mary Todd and Allen Todd are related.
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