Following last week’s brawl at an Alabama dock, one man emerged as a hero. The chairman himself, Reggie Ray, turned himself in on Aug. 11 after Montgomery authorities made pleas for the Black male wielding a folding chair to turn himself in as part of their investigation.
According to WSFA, the 42-year-old Ray was eventually charged with disorderly conduct by the Montgomery Police Department. Ray’s attorney Lee Merritt established a Go Fund Me for Ray and posted it to social media, but it is unclear if those funds were used to meet Ray’s bail cost.
At present, the fund has raised more than $265,000 of its $275,000 total. The comments section is filled with well-wishers and folks celebrating the actions of those who took part in defending Dameion Pickett, the riverboat co-captain.
The Daily Beast reports that the captain of the Hariott II, Jim Kittrell, thinks that the attack from five white people was racially motivated. Kittrell said “The white guys that attacked my deckhand—and he was a senior deckhand first mate—I can’t think of any other reason they attacked him other than it being racially motivated,” Kittrell explained.
“All he did was move their boat up three feet. It makes no sense to have six people try to beat the snot out of you just because you moved their boat up a few feet. In my opinion, the attack on Damien was racially motivated.”
In contrast to Kittrell’s read of the situation, the Montgomery police department has decided that the attack was not a result of any kind of racial animus, saying that the circumstances of the attack did not fit with either a hate crime or charges of inciting a riot.
Merritt discussed the case via a statement he released to ABC News, “Mr. Ray will continue to participate with the ongoing investigation concerning the same and is committed to be forthcoming about his limited role in the brawl.” Merritt also said that his client had been roped into the brawl due to the actions of the white people who started the brawl.
In an update posted to his Instagram account, Merritt shared that Ray was in good spirits after learning how the community banded together to bail him out: “Mr. Reggie Ray is out,” Merritt writes. “He is in good spirits. He got a speeding ticket on the way home but he was relieved to discover the community showed up for him and others in such strong way.”
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