Chair thrower from infamous Alabama Riverboat scrap swerves jail term


Reggie Bernard Ray, the individual who brandished a folding chair during the notorious Alabama riverfront incident, has sidestepped incarceration. Instead, he received a 90-day suspended sentence, mandatory 50 hours of community service, and was ordered to cover court costs amounting to $357 after pleading guilty to misdemeanor disorderly conduct.

The video capturing the Alabama riverfront brawl in August depicted Ray wielding a white folding chair, striking both a man and a woman. The altercation involved six individuals and sparked a national conversation about race. The footage suggested that a group of white men had confronted the black captain of a boat named the Harriott II over a dispute regarding docking space.

In the video, Ray was seen hitting a shirtless man multiple times with a folded chair, resembling scenes from professional wrestling. Police body cam footage also revealed Ray striking a woman with the chair.

Authorities determined that Ray’s involvement occurred in the latter part of the brawl. His case represents the final resolution among the six individuals charged in connection with the incident.

The brawl reportedly initiated when white boaters refused to relocate their pontoon boat, obstructing the city-owned Harriott II riverboat’s designated docking space. The co-captain of the Harriott II faced misdemeanor assault charges, accused by one of the white boaters involved in the melee. However, Montgomery Mayor Steven L. Reed and Police Chief Darryl J. Albert emphasized that the police considered the co-captain a victim.

The viral footage of the brawl led to numerous memes and parodies, underscoring the incident’s widespread impact. Five other individuals faced charges related to the altercation, with two white boaters previously pleading guilty to misdemeanor assault or harassment.

Reggie Ray’s sentencing, focusing on community service rather than jail time, concludes a legal chapter in the aftermath of the Alabama riverfront brawl, shedding light on broader discussions about race, justice, and public safety.