On the night of Saturday, August 5, a brawl broke out between an African American dock worker and several white men in Alabama’s Montgomery Riverfront Park. As per USA Today, the fight broke out because a pontoon boat was allegedly blocking the dock area required to park a riverboat. In fact, the space in concern is often reserved as a regular parking spot for the Harriott II Riverboat.
As per the footage that has emerged online, it was seen that many white people from the pontoon boat started arguing with the solo black man, who as per Jasmine Williams of WSFA was an on-duty dock worker.
Later, a white man from the group was seen hitting the dock worker, who took a step back, tried to defend himself, and tossed his hat into the air. Following this, all the white men joined in the fight and allegedly began beating up the black man.
USA Today reported that nobody was seriously injured, however, many people were taken into Montgomery Police Department’s custody.
On Sunday, a video of the incident surfaced on social media, initiating talks about the racial divide, with #BlackLivesMatter and #BlackTwitter trending. One user even commented:
“In chairs we trust”: Netizens have wild reactions to Montgomery Riverfront Park brawl
At 7 pm local time, the Montgomery Police Department responded to several 911 calls on Saturday notifying them about a group of people fighting near the 200th block of Coosa Street in Montgomery across the Riverfront Park.
The cops arrived on the scene and immediately started putting people in detention to put an end to the brawl.
According to Montgomery Adviser, the reason behind the fight was that the black dock worker asked the white men to move their pontoon boat so that the incoming riverboat could park in its usual spot.
However, the white men on board the pontoon boat refused to cooperate which at first led to verbal fights and later turned into a physical brawl.
A short video, which was first posted on several social media platforms by Alabama Political Reporter Josh Moon, showed how many white men were targeting a single black man. While audio from the fight is unclear, witnesses from the riverboat were heard yelling repeatedly to help the dock worker. One witness was even heard screaming to the onlookers on shore:
“Y’all help that brother!”
The video even showed some onlookers from the shore intervening to defend the dock worker while another black man was seen diving into the water from the riverboat to rescue the alleged victim.
In fact, another voice from the video yelled at him saying:
“Get up there, young buck!”
The footage has garnered wild reactions online with netizens reacting to the racist brawl with #BlackTwitter trending in support of the African American dock worker and others from his race who came to his help. Here are some of the comments:
Although the dock worker was left alone after other people joined in, the altercation was aggravated when the riverboat attempted to dock and push the pontoon boat. During the fight, at least one person was reported to have fallen into the water.
However, the authorities soon arrived on the scene and the police took people into custody.
So far, the names of the detained suspects have not been released and the charges against people involved in the brawl are also pending, as stated by the Montgomery Police Department to USA Today.
However, as per their statement, four active warrants were issued and there was the possibility of more after the additional videos they received were thoroughly reviewed.
While the Montgomery Police Department explained the incident as “reckless individuals attacking a man who was doing his job,” the mayor of the city Steven L. Reed took to social media on Sunday to say how the community should not become “desensitized to violence” and that justice will be served.