A recent Alabama riverfront incident involving a black riverboat captain, Damien Pickett, has taken a legal turn with Pickett now facing third-degree assault charges. The incident, which occurred on August 5, gained national attention for its WWE-style action between Pickett and a group of white boaters.
In the footage, Pickett is seen engaging with one of the men on the dock after moving their illegally parked pontoon, resulting in a physically overwhelming situation for the captain. Other deckhands joined the fray, escalating the situation to a chaotic confrontation resembling professional wrestling.
Now, one of the white defendants, Zachery ‘Chase’ Shipman, is pressing charges against Pickett, leading to the misdemeanor assault case. The legal development comes three months after Pickett provided a statement to the police, documenting the events that transpired during the brawl.
Pickett’s statement detailed how he repeatedly asked the group to move their vessel from the designated spot, only to face physical assault when the group refused and later retaliated. The brawl involved punches, a steel chair being wielded by one of Pickett’s colleagues, and even racial slurs, as reported by witnesses.
Despite maintaining that he was simply doing his job, Pickett found himself in the midst of a violent confrontation, enduring punches and racial slurs from the white boaters. The incident led to the arrest and charging of five individuals, including Shipman, with two pleading guilty to assault charges.
Pickett’s arraignment for the assault charges is scheduled for later this month. The legal proceedings shed light on the complexities of the case, involving racial tensions, self-defense, and the blurred lines between professional duties and personal safety. As the legal saga unfolds, Pickett’s case serves as a stark reminder of the challenges faced by individuals in their workplaces and the broader societal context that influences such incidents.