Dock Worker From Montgomery Riverfront Brawl Speaks Out as ‘Folding Chair Man’ Arrested
After the shocking brawl that erupted on the Montgomery, AL riverfront last weekend, dock worker Damien Pickett—the man at the center of the altercation—has broken his silence about the incident. The melee, involving a group of white boaters and several individuals who came to Pickett's aid, captured national attention. Additionally, one of the suspects, Reggie Ray, known as the 'Folding Chair Man,' has been arrested in connection with the incident, as confirmed by Montgomery police.
In his written deposition filed with Montgomery police shortly after the August 5 brawl, Pickett described the harrowing moments when he was attacked by a group of white boaters who resisted moving their boat to allow a dinner cruise vessel, the Harriott II, to dock. The account, obtained by NBC News, paints a vivid picture of the events leading up to the altercation.
According to Pickett's statement, the dispute began when the Harriott II's crew repeatedly requested the occupants of a pontoon boat to move it to clear the way for docking. After numerous attempts to communicate with the occupants through an intercom, Pickett decided to confront them in person. He recounted that the men on the pontoon boat responded to his requests with obscene gestures and threats, escalating the situation.
As the tensions escalated, Pickett found himself under attack by the group. He recalled that a tall, older white man hit him in the face, followed by another man who tackled him. Despite being outnumbered and facing threats, Pickett fought back to defend himself. He wrote, "I grabbed one of them and just held on for dear life."
Pickett further detailed the chaotic scene, describing the arrival of assistance from a tall Black man and a security guard, who managed to pull the attackers away from him.
Pickett's nephew also joined the fray, and the situation continued to escalate. Ultimately, Pickett's nephew ran off the boat, prompting further altercations with the attackers and others.
Five suspects were identified in connection with the brawl, including Mary Todd, Allen Todd, Zachary Shipman, Richard Roberts, and Reggie Ray. Ray, who was allegedly seen hitting someone with a folding chair in a video of the brawl, recently surrendered to Montgomery police.
He is currently being held on a misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge. The other four suspects had previously turned themselves in and were charged with various counts of misdemeanor third-degree assault.
The investigation into the incident has garnered significant attention, with Mayor Steven Reed praising the efforts of law enforcement and witnesses for their dedication to uncovering the truth. While initial statements indicated that the incident might not be classified as a hate crime, Mayor Reed acknowledged the potential for the violence to have been "fueled by hate" and emphasized the importance of ensuring justice prevails.
As the investigation continues, more video evidence and witness testimonies are being sought to shed further light on the events that unfolded in the infamous Montgomery Riverfront brawl.