Black Dock Worker Describes Montgomery Brawl In Detailed Deposition
Dock worker Damien Pickett has spoken with authorities about the Aug. 5 brawl in Montgomery, Alabama. In a written deposition filed with Montgomery police and obtained by NBC News, Pickett recalled the terrifying incident of being jumped by a group of white boaters on the riverfront after telling them to move their boat so that an authorized cruise vessel could dock.
Pickett wrote in the deposition that he asked the group of white boaters to move their pontoon boat several times over his intercom as the cruise vessel, Harriott II, approached. When he finally went to the pontoon in person, he claimed the men on the boat flipped him off and refused. He and his fellow dockhand were forced to finally untie the pontoon boat themselves and move it just “three steps to the right” so that the Harriott II could pull in.
Pickett described the moment that the fight started. “By that time, two people ran up behind me,” Pickett wrote. He said that one man, dressed in a red hat, yelled, “Don’t touch that boat motherf***** or we will beat your a**.”
“I told them, ‘No, you won’t. Do what you’ve got to do; I’m just doing my job.’”
He continued to recall that two “very drunk” white men came over to him belligerently, and another attempted to “try to calm them down.” However, when the pontoon’s boat owner approached, the situation escalated further. The owner “started getting loud … He got into my face. [He said] ‘This belongs to the f****** public.’ I told him this was a city dock.”
“By that time, a tall, older white guy came over and hit me in the face. I took my hat off and threw it in the air. Somebody hit me from behind. I started choking the older guy in front of me so he couldn’t anymore, pushing him back at the same time. Then the guy in the red shorts came up and tackled me … I went to the ground. I think I hit one of them.”
Pickett described the white men attacking him as threatening him as they all threw blows at him. They said things like, “I’m gonna kill you, motherf*****. Beat your ass, motherf*****.”
Pickett wrote, “I can’t tell you how long it lasted. I grabbed one of them and just held on for dear life.”
The dock worker continued to describe when help arrived for him in the form of fellow Black people. Two Black men pulled the group of white men off him, and he even saw that “one of my co-workers had jumped into the water and was pushing people and fighting. My nose was running … and I could hear passengers and co-workers arguing with the people who attacked me.”
When the Harriott II could finally dock, Pickett said that his nephew was one of the first off the boat and chased after his attackers. The deposition outlines how the situation escalated further as more people tried to help.
“The security guard was trying to get the lady in red to leave; she wouldn’t listen. People from off the boat and spectators were coming down the back end of the dock. The guy who started it all was choking my sister. I hit him, grabbed her, and moved her … I turned around, and MPD had a Taser in my face. I told him I was the one being attacked and could I finish doing my job.”
During the chaos, Pickett helped the Hariott II’s passengers off the boat and instructed those with footage of his attack to the MPD officers on the scene.
When Pickett was finally able to get to a medic, he was sent to the emergency room because his “head was hurting [and he felt] felt a knot in the back of [his] head and the front.” Although he was bruised and battered, thankfully, Pickett suffered no broken bones.
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