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Two men plead guilty to harassment charges in Montgomery riverfront brawl

By Jaide Timm-Garcia, CNN

(CNN) — Two men involved in an August 5th brawl on the riverfront dock in Montgomery, Alabama, pleaded guilty to harassment charges on Friday for their roles in the dispute, which garnered national headlines, according to court documents.

Allen Todd and Zachery Shipman each had a 60-day jail sentence suspended, pending their cooperation in performing their remaining duties, the Montgomery docket says. Both defendants will be required to complete 12 months of probation and 100 hours of community service. They will also have to enroll in and complete anger management training, and pay their individual court costs.

Video of the melee went viral as some believed the fracas was racially motivated. The dispute started when a cruise ship was trying to dock in its designated parking spot, but found a private boat was in its space, Montgomery Police Chief Darryl Albert said in August. The dispute ended with the defendants – the occupants of the private boat – fighting Damien Pickett, the co-captain of the Harriott II cruise ship, when he confronted them about moving.

The riverboat, with 227 passengers, waited about 45 minutes as Pickett tried to reach the occupants of the docked boat using a PA system. But “they were only responded to with obscene gestures, curse words and taunting,” Albert said.

Pickett was then picked up by a young dockworker in another vessel and taken to the dock so he could try to speak with the boat occupants and get them to move, Albert said. There, the boat occupants confronted the captain in a “very hostile manner,” the chief said.

Pickett was “attacked by several members of the private boat” and was treated at a hospital that night, the chief said. Several Harriott II crew members came to Pickett’s defense, according to the chief.

In a widely circulated video of the incident, a man appears to come to Pickett’s aide, swinging a chair in the air. That man, identified by police as Reggie Ray, has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct, according to court records. He was given a 90-day suspended sentence on the condition that he complete 50 hours of community service, the records show.

The incident largely broke down along racial lines in a city with both a fraught history of racial violence and a proud place in the civil rights movement.

Police said Pickett, who is Black, and the 16-year-old White dockworker who ferried him over to speak with the owner of the private boat, were both assaulted.

Two other defendants charged in the case were sentenced in October after pleading guilty.

Mary Todd was sentenced to anger management classes after pleading guilty to harassment as part of a plea agreement.

Richard Roberts, who pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault, was sentenced to 32 days, which he was set to serve on weekends over the course of four months, along with community service.

The two defendants each have a 30-day review scheduled; Jan. 8 for Shipman, and Jan. 9 for Todd.

™ & © 2023 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

CNN’s Devon M. Sayers, Toni Odejimi, Holly Yan and Fabiana Chaparro contributed to this report.

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