A large fight that broke out at a riverfront park in Montgomery, Alabama, on Saturday night has sparked outrage and condemnation from the city’s mayor and police department. The brawl, which was captured on multiple videos posted on social media, involved a group of white boaters who attacked a black dock worker and then clashed with other black people who came to his defense.
What led to the brawl?
According to witnesses and police, the incident started when a group of white boaters refused to move their pontoon boat from a spot that was needed for the Harriott II Riverboat to dock. A black dock worker, who was part of the riverboat crew, approached the boaters and asked them to move their vessel. The boaters then became aggressive and assaulted the dock worker, punching and kicking him.
The dock worker’s colleagues and other bystanders, who were also black, rushed to help him and confronted the boaters. A chaotic scene ensued, with people throwing punches, chairs, and even each other into the water. Some of the boaters also used racial slurs and profanities during the altercation.
Police arrived at the scene around 7 p.m. and detained several people involved in the fight. Four arrest warrants have been issued so far, and more may follow after the review of additional video evidence.
How did the mayor and police react?
Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed, who is the city’s first black mayor, expressed his dismay and anger over the incident in a statement on Sunday. He said that the boaters attacked a man who was doing his job and that their actions were “intolerable” and “unfortunate”. He also praised the police for acting swiftly and professionally to restore order.
“Justice will be served,” Reed said. “This was an unfortunate incident which never should have occurred. As our police department investigates these intolerable actions, we should not become desensitized to violence of any kind in our community.”
Montgomery Police Department also issued a statement on Monday, saying that they were working diligently to identify all the suspects and hold them accountable. They also appealed to the public for any information or footage that could help them with their investigation.
“Those who choose violence will be held accountable by our criminal justice system,” Reed said.
How did social media react?
The videos of the brawl went viral on social media platforms such as X (formerly known as Twitter) and Facebook, drawing thousands of views, comments, and reactions. Many users expressed their support for the dock worker and his allies, who were hailed as heroes for standing up against racism and violence. Some users also created memes and jokes about the incident, highlighting the iconic folding chair that was used as a weapon by one of the participants.