Harriott co-captain faces assault charges related to riverfront brawl

Published 10:14 pm Tuesday, November 14, 2023

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The boat co-captain identified as a victim in August’s Montgomery Riverfront Park brawl has now been charged with third-degree assault.

Selma’s Zachary “Chase” Shipman, who was involved in the altercation, filed a complaint against Harriott II riverboat co-captain Dameion Pickett on Oct. 25. Pickett was charged in Montgomery Municipal Court on Oct. 26 and is scheduled for arraignment on Nov. 21. He was not arrested or booked into jail, according to Montgomery municipal court records. 

Assault charges were initially filed by the City of Montgomery in August against Shipman, 25, Richard Roberts, 48, Allen Todd, 23, and Mary Todd, 21, after the boaters allegedly attacked Pickett. Reggie Ray, observed by police allegedly wielding a folding chair and swinging it at an unknown subject, was charged Aug. 11 with disorderly conduct. 

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Pickett was not charged immediately after the incident and the current charges were not leveled by the City of Montgomery or The Montgomery Police Department.

The riverside altercation stemmed from Pickett’s effort to relocate a pontoon boat Shipman and the others occupied. According to Pickett, the boaters assaulted him after he pushed their vessel, which was blocking the designated docking spot for the city-owned riverboat, just a few feet down along the dock.  

On Nov. 9. Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed and Montgomery Police Chief Darryl Albert released the following statement concerning Pickett’s charges.     

“The City of Montgomery and Montgomery Police Department have been made aware that one of the individuals involved in the incident at Montgomery Riverfront Park on Aug. 5 has filed charges against [Harriott II] co-captain Dameion Pickett. Neither the City nor the Montgomery Police Department filed these charges. The Montgomery Police Department’s investigation only lists Mr. Pickett as a victim.”

Roberts and Mary Todd, both of Selma, pleaded guilty in Montgomery Municipal Court on Oct. 26 to charges related to the brawl. Roberts answered misdemeanor charges for two counts of third-degree assault against Pickett and 16-year-old deckhand Daniel Warren. Mary Todd pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of misdemeanor harassment of Pickett and was ordered to complete anger management classes as part of her plea agreement. 

Roberts was sentenced to a four-month suspended sentence, of which he must serve 32 days on weekends beginning on Nov. 4 in Perry County. If he violates this agreement, he must serve the full four months. He must also complete 100 hours of community service.

Allen Todd, Shipman and Ray had their cases postponed to Nov. 16. Shipman and Allen Todd are each charged with one count each of third-degree assault, and Ray was accused of hitting a woman with a folding chair during the altercation.

Terry Luck, one of Shipman’s attorneys, was not immediately available for comment. Luck, who also represents Allen Todd, filed a motion on Nov. 9 requesting Judge Samarria Munnerlyn Dunson recuse herself from trying the case, alleging his clients cannot get a fair trial in municipal court.

Allen Todd and Shipman appeared before Dunson on Oct. 27, when the case was continued after plea negotiations for the two men failed because Dunson refused to accept the deals.

The motion alleges the judge called the plea process unfair to Pickett but also claimed the City of Montgomery and Pickett approved the offers. Luck’s motion also claims Pickett received preferential treatment as a city employee.

“The City of Montgomery issued a summons and did not require the City of Montgomery employee (Pickett) to be arrested,” the motion reads. Todd and Shipman were arrested “… and had to spend twelve hours in jail confinement by the City of Montgomery, despite (their) having post(ed) bond.”

The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) investigated the incident as a possible hate crime and found no evidence of racial motivation for the melee.