(Over $260k Raised to Cover Legal Fees for the Black Man Charged in Incident)
Everyone saw the video of the Black riverboat co-captain who was punched, kicked and tackled by whites on a Birmingham, Alabama riverfront dock last week. A video of the brawl that went viral led many to question whether or not the attack was racially motivated, with many Blacks left to wonder how equitably justice would be meted out. The mother of a teen deckhand helping co-captain Damein Pickett and was also punched, reported that she had heard a racial slur before the brawl broke out.
As a woman shouted, “Someone help that brother,” a number of Black men came to the aid of Pickett, including a 16-year-old teen who swam to the dock to help out and Reggie Ray, who was armed with a folding chair as he beat off attackers.
Four whites were arrested and charged with misdemeanor assault.
Ray was charged with one misdemeanor count of disorderly conduct and in the time since his arrest, a GoFundMe account has racked in more than $260k for legal free.
A post on the page says that “funds raised will be used to offset the cost of certain damages incurred by my clients and others involved in responding to the chaos at the riverfront.”
Ray is the only black charged in the incident thus far. City officials say that an investigation is ongoing.
The incident was sparked when a group of white boaters refused a Black dock worker’s request to move their boat from a space reserved for the city’s riverboat, which was carrying 227 passengers and about to dock.
The riverboat co-captain recalled fearing for his life as the four men attacked him. Pickett was checked out at a nearby hospital with a few bruised ribs and a lump on his head.
There is a chance that if the fight is found to have been racially motivated that the charges could become stiffer for the four whites arrested.