Home > Community Features > Montgomery PD names first suspects in viral Alabama ‘riverboat brawl’

Montgomery PD names first suspects in viral Alabama ‘riverboat brawl’

One suspect was already in custody of Selma PD as of press conference, chief said

Montgomery Alabama Police Chief Darryl J. Albert held a press conference at 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, August 8 regarding his department’s ongoing investigation of the “riverfront brawl” that happened in Montgomery over the weekend. Video of that incident went viral on social media. 

Albert announced three suspects in the incident, thus far:

Richard Roberts, white male, 48, charged with two counts of third-degree assault. 

Allen Todd, white male, 23, charged with one count of third-degree assault. 

Zachary Shipman, white male, 25, charged with one count of third-degree assault. 

He said one of the three suspects had already turned himself in to law enforcement in Selma, and the other two were expected to turn themselves in within the hour. He did not specify which suspect was already in custody. 

Albert said MPD also requested that Reggie Gray, a black man seen on video wielding a folding chair as a weapon, come in for further questioning in the matter. 

“This investigation is ongoing, and more charges are likely,” Albert said. He thanked the public and the media for providing the video evidence used in the investigation of the case. 

“The police department didn’t have the luxury of the videos that we’ve all seen now,” when they first arrived on the scene, Albert said. “Now that we have more information, more charges are pending.”

Albert said there were 227 people on board the riverboat Harriott II when it attempted to dock at Riverfront Park in Montgomery on Saturday evening. There was a privately-owned boat parked in the space designated for the large riverboat, which requires access to the gangway and mooring. 

Albert said the Harriott’s captain “remained away for 40-45 minutes as he attempted to contact the owners of the private boat via PA.” These attempts, he said, were met with obscene gestures, curse words, and taunting from the private boaters. 

Albert said the boat’s co-captain, Damien Pickett, traveled by a separate vessel to the pier to attempt to talk with the private boaters. Pickett attempted to move the private boat himself to allow the riverboat to dock in its space. That was when the white boaters attacked Pickett, who is black. Albert said the first call dispatch received came in at about 7:00 p.m., and was from the captain of the Harriott. The captain was “very calm and not in distress,” Albert said. But soon after, more calls came in, and MPD responded to the scene by 7:18 p.m., he said. 

The department detained and interviewed 13 people after the dust had settled, in a process the chief said lasted for several hours. The people were then released pending further investigation. They were all given instructions on how to secure warrants against any potential attackers, the chief said. 

Albert identified two victims in the incident: Pickett, who is the Harriott II’s co-captain, and a 16 year old white male juvenile, who Albert said was also struck by the private boat operators.