Montgomery police, mayor give update on Riverfront brawl

Montgomery police held a press conference on Tuesday afternoon to give an update on the brawl that took place this past weekend.
Published: Aug. 6, 2023 at 10:51 AM CDT|Updated: Aug. 8, 2023 at 6:18 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The Montgomery Police Department held a press conference on Tuesday afternoon to give an update on the brawl that took place this past weekend at the Montgomery Riverfront.

Montgomery Police Chief Darryl Albert said the incident began when private boat owners would not move their boat from the place where the Harriot docks. Attempts were made by the Captain of the Harriot for 45 minutes by the use of a PA system. However, the private boat owners instead yelled obscenities back at the Harriot and refused to move their boat.

As a result, the co-Captain of the Harriot boarded a smaller vessel and went to the dock in an attempt to get the boat owners to move their boat in order to allow the Harriot to come to port. At this time, the boat owners continued a verbal confrontation that then turned violent.

Chief Albert stated that on the day of the incident, 13 people were detained, questioned, and then released. Chief Albert also stated that four arrest warrants have been issued for the individuals involved.

Richard Roberts, 48, is charged with two counts of assault third degree and is in custody, according to police. Allen Todd, 23, is charged with assault third degree, and Zachary Shipman, 25, is being charged with assault third degree.

Chief Albert said the other two individuals were expected to turn themselves in within hours after the press conference.

Richard Roberts, 48, is charged with two counts of assault third degree.
Richard Roberts, 48, is charged with two counts of assault third degree.(Source: Montgomery Police Department)

Police are also asking to speak with Reggie Gray, who was the individual in the video that was assaulting others with a chair, and that more charges are expected to be coming.

The incident was captured on video from multiple angles.

“We want to make sure that the community is aware that we are fully engaged, and we are doing all of our due diligence to find out exactly what took place,” Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed said Monday.

MPD investigators are combing through multiple videos provided by the public, as well as the City of Montgomery’s own video surveillance systems. They’re asking anyone with more footage to submit it to

MPD said the incident started shortly before 7 p.m. Saturday on the dock along the Alabama River. Units responded to the 200 block of Coosa Street regarding a disturbance. On scene, officers encountered a large group of people engaged in a physical altercation.

One video shared with WSFA 12 News by a viewer, which runs approximately four minutes and 30 seconds, shows the moments leading up to the confrontation and the initial scuffle that quickly escalated.

A passenger on the Harriott II Riverboat was recording when a confrontation turned into a fight involving multiple people.

The viewer, narrating what she was watching while aboard the riverboat, said an unnamed person in a white shirt, whom she said was part of the boat’s crew, got off the riverboat and went to move a pontoon boat that was blocking the city-owned Harriott II’s ability to dock.

As the crewmember appears to untie the pontoon boat’s rope, a man runs up to confront him. While it’s unknown exactly what was being said between the two, body language clearly indicated an escalation before others also ran to the boat to confront the crewmember.

Approximately three minutes after the confrontation began, an unidentified man ran up and shoved the crewmember, at which point the physical altercation between multiple people began.

Other videos showed people being punched, shoved, kicked and at least one person was knocked off the pier and into the water.

A WSFA 12 News crew responded to the scene and found multiple police units who had placed several people in handcuffs. MPD said the unidentified people were detained and that charges were pending.

Reed released a statement Sunday afternoon:

“I feel like it’s an unfortunate incident,” the mayor said Monday. “It’s something that shouldn’t have happened, and it’s something that we’re investigating right now.”

The mayor further noted that, “we’ll come through this together as a community, collectively, as we have other situations, as well.”

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