A riverboat crew member involved in a massive brawl on a popular riverfront dock in Montgomery, Alabama, said he was just doing his job when he found himself involved in the fight that gained national attention last month.
“I went to work to work, not to be in a fight or get jumped on,” Dameion Pickett, co-captain of the Harriott II, said Monday on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
“There’s a cause and effect of every situation,” he added.
The August 5 fight stemmed from a dispute over a dockside parking spot at Montgomery’s Riverfront Park between the crew of the riverboat and the owners of a small private boat.
Pickett said the incident started when his captain asked him to help move a boat blocking the riverboat from docking.
“That’s common practice in the boat world,” Jim Kittrell, captain of the Harriott II, previously told CNN.
Pickett noted the riverboat would not have been able to dock without hitting the smaller boat.
“By the captain’s order, we got off and moved the boat four steps to the right,” Pickett said.
Pickett said he told the group with the smaller boat he was just doing his job, noting they were holding alcohol and cursing at him.
“They’ve got beers in their hands, while they’re on the dock,” Pickett said.
Pickett said he was thinking about “the people on the boat; their safety. Getting them in, getting everybody off and getting them home. Plus, I’m thinking about his boat, also, because if our boat hits his boat, it’s going to sink.”
Pickett said he decided to defend himself after one man became physically aggressive with him.
“When he touched me, I’m like, ‘It’s on,’” Pickett said. A physical fight ensued.
As more bystanders got involved, the fight broke down largely along racial lines. Video of the incident gained national attention, bringing to light the city’s fraught history of racial violence.
Roshein “RahRah” Carlton, another member of the crew of the Harriott II, rushed to Pickett’s side. As he asked the people on the dock why they jumped on Pickett, Carlton told “Good Morning America” he heard racial slurs being used.
“I saw it like everybody else saw it. It looks like White people attacking a Black man,” Kittrell said. “I don’t know the hearts of those men. I have no idea what’s in their hearts.”
“I do know the hearts of my crew,” Kittrell added. “My crew was like frustrated – because they couldn’t get to the dock – and protective. I know that’s what was going through their mind, because that’s what was going through mine.”
Aaren Hamilton-Rudolph, 16, who was also working on the Harriott II, is shown in the video swimming over to the scene.
“Everybody was just recording. No one helped,” Hamilton-Rudolph told “Good Morning America.” “I couldn’t just watch and sit around and just let him get beat on, while everybody else was just recording.”
“Before y’all start recording and joking and laughing, how about think and help people?” Hamilton-Rudolph added. “He could’ve gotten injured or worse. You don’t know what could have happened that day.”
Physically, Pickett said he is “a little sore. A little bumps and bruises here and there, but I’m here by the grace of God.”
Five people were charged in connection with the fight, according to Montgomery police.
“The Montgomery Police Department acted swiftly to detain several reckless individuals for attacking a man who was doing his job,” Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed said in a statement on X, formerly Twitter, a day after the fight. “Warrants have been signed and justice will be served.”
CNN’s Raja Razek, Alta Spells, Devon M. Sayers, Ryan Young, Christal Hayes, Eric Levenson and Dakin Andone contributed to this report.