Montgomery Mayor Cannot 'Confirm Or Deny' If Waterfront Brawl Was Racially Motivated

Mayor Steven L. Reed says law enforcement is speaking to eyewitnesses to the incident.

theFollowing the brawl that took place at the Riverboat Park in Montgomery, Ala., the city’s mayor said that he could not “confirm or deny” if the incident was racially motivated, reports.

On Monday (August 8), Mayor Steven L. Reed held a news conference to give an update on the investigation of the brawl where he reassured his constituents that law enforcement is making progress on the case.

“We’ll be able to share certainly more details at that time,” Reed said.“But as in regards to public safety here in Montgomery, it’s always at the forefront of our mind and we appreciate everything that the community has done to help us in this situation as they do with incidents each and every day.”

When asked by a reporter if the brawl was racially motivated, Reed said they are considering all factors in their investigation.

“We can’t confirm or deny it at this time,” Reed said. “We’re investigating all angles of this and we’re talking to people who were there as we speak.”

The mayor explained that he would further address the matter at another briefing on Tuesday (August 8).

“While there is a lot of activity and interest in this, we know that we’ll come through this as a community collectively as we have other situations,” Reed said.

The incident began when a dock worker attempted to make room so the Harriott II Riverboat could dock along t3he Alabama River on Saturday (August 5). When a group of white boaters refused to move their pontoon and the dock worker, who is Black, untied their boat to make way for the Harriott II. Video footage showed the boaters assaulting the dock worker who was outnumbered.

Soon after the boaters attacked the dock worker, several people came to his aid and one of them swam from the Harriott II to the dock to defend him.

Per the report, Montgomery police handcuffed several people on the scene and issued three active warrants for other suspects who are believed to be involved in the brawl.

NBC News reports that several witnesses have come forward to give their accounts of the fight In the aftermath of the melee.

“They just didn’t think the rules applied to them. It was so avoidable. This never had to have happened,” said Leslie Mawhorter who was a passenger on the Harriott II. “Everything just spiraled from there. I knew something was going to go down because their attitude was just, ‘You can’t tell us what to do.’ They were going to be confrontational regardless of who you were.”

Christa Owen, was also aboard the Harriott II along with her husband and their daughter when the incident happened. She recalled that passengers on the dinner cruise were waiting for several minutes for boaters to move their pontoon and allow the Harriott to dock. Also, the dock worker was the only employee that tried to corral the unruly boaters.

“What was hard is we were all on the boat and witnessing our poor crewman being attacked by these guys, and we couldn’t do anything about it,” Owen said. “It was really difficult to watch, and, like I said, we felt helpless, because we were forced to be spectators.”

Owen also stated that she believed that boaters were intoxicated at the time of the incident and was outraged that they attacked the dock worker who was simply trying to do his job.

“It was inexcusable behavior,” Owen said, adding that she believes alcohol was a factor. “I can’t imagine anyone just disregarding moving their boat 2 feet so that a three-story dinner cruise boat could park back in that spot.

The names of the dock worker who was attacked and the suspects involved in the brawl have not been released.

On Sunday (August 6), Reed issued a statement that promised that justice will be served.

“Last night, the Montgomery Police Department acted swiftly to detain several reckless individuals for attacking a man who was doing his job. Warrants have been signed and justice will be served,” the statement read. “This was an unfortunate incident which never should have occurred."

No arrests have yet been made in connection with the brawl.

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