It’s been almost two months since the viral brawl at Riverfront Park in Montgomery, Alabama. Now Dameion Pickett, the dock worker who was attacked in the violent melee by a group of boaters, spoke out about the incident in an exclusive interview with “Good Morning America.”
Pickett, who is the lead deckhand of the Harriot II, reflected on what led up to the altercation and told “GMA” co-anchor Robin Roberts that he was just “just doing my job” and was “just in shock” when he was violently attacked.
“I didn’t expect this to happen at work today,” Pickett said. “I was just expecting another peaceful, nice cruise.”
According to Pickett and witnesses aboard the Harriett II who spoke with ABC News, crew members made several attempts to ask the owner of the pontoon boat to move it, but their calls were ignored.
“Everybody was yelling, “Could y’all move y’all boat?” Pickett said.
Then, Pickett said he got off the riverboat “by the captain’s orders” and went to move the pontoon boat himself.
“Really just moved it about one, two, four– four steps to the right, that’s it,” he said.
“I was, like, ‘I’m just doing my job … After we dock, we don’t mind y’all staying there but not at this time while we’re trying to dock,'” he added.
Moments after Pickett moved the boat, videos show a man punched him before others attacked him and were later identified by police as the boat owner and his family.
Pickett said that after he was assaulted, he had to defend himself.
“This man just put his hand on me. I was, like … it’s my job, but I’m still defending myself at the same time. So when he touched me, I was, like, ‘It’s on,'” Pickett said.
As the incident grew out of control, the fight led to a huge brawl that started between the individuals who attacked Pickett, all of whom were white, prompting several Black eyewitnesses to join a fight in an apparent attempt to defend Pickett, including a viral video of a teenager later identified as Aaren Hamilton-Rudolph swimming to the dock to defend him.
Hamilton-Rudolph, a 16-year-old who was only on his second week on the job, reflected on what made him swim to Pickett’s defense in an interview with “GMA.”
“Everybody was just recording. No one helped,” Hamilton-Rudolph said. “So I couldn’t just watch and sit around and just let him get beat on while everybody else is just recording and watching.”
Roshein “RahRah” Carlton, Pickett’s coworker and friend, also rushed to his defense.
“It’s our duty as– as our coworker, as a team, to go and aid and assist him,” Carlton told “GMA.”
Pickett said that “some nasty words” were directed at him when he got attacked, while Carlton claimed that he heard “a lot of racial slurs” being used during the incident.
The incident was investigated by the Montgomery Police Department, leading to misdemeanor assault charges against four white individuals, all of whom are now out on bond and set to appear in court for a hearing this week.
Pickett told Roberts that all he wanted to do was make sure that the Harriott II, which was carrying more than 200 passengers at the time, could dock safely.
“I had a responsibility,” he said. “I was still trying to get that boat in while the fight was still going on. I’m still telling the captain, ‘We gotta get these folks here safely to this dock.'”
Pickett asked how he was doing after the incident, saying, “I’m just a little– a little sore, little bumps and bruises here and there. But I’m here by the grace of God.”
Watch the video below.