Damien Pickett, the deckhand subjected to assault during the viral riverboat brawl in Montgomery, Alabama, last month, has made his first public statement regarding the incident. Pickett, of African American descent, spoke with Robin Roberts, co-anchor of Good Morning America, in an interview published on Monday, providing his account of the events that led to the brawl.
Pickett confronted a group of white men who refused to move their pontoon boat, obstructing the docking of the Harriott II riverboat. Pickett stated that the incident took him aback, as he had expected a peaceful and harmonious work environment.
He explained that the fight broke out due to the obstruction caused by the pontoon boat, which prevented the riverboat from docking without causing damage to other boats. Pickett further stated that he and his colleagues had requested the group to move their boat, but the situation escalated when words were exchanged.
Utilization of liquor
Pickett emphasized that he was doing his job and requested that the group move their boat so the riverboat could dock. Pickett stated that the men subsequently utilized offensive language in their response. He further alleged that the consumption of alcohol was a factor, as the men were holding beers while on the dock.
During this encounter, Pickett conveyed to Roberts, aged 62, that his primary concern was the safety of the individuals on the boat, ensuring their prompt disembarkation and safe return home.
Official rules and regulations
Recordings depict Pickett engaging in a dispute with an individual who inquired about the location of a sign prohibiting docking, despite Pickett's assertion that he had previously been there and was aware of the established rules and regulations.
At this point, an unclothed Caucasian male swiftly approached Pickett and physically assaulted him, thereby instigating the ensuing chaotic altercation that unfolded throughout the entirety of the dock.
Pickett maintained unwavering concentration
"This individual made physical contact with me. Although I was fulfilling my professional duties, I felt compelled to defend myself. Consequently, when he made contact, I instinctively responded with force," Pickett recounted.
Regarding his physical condition following the fight, Pickett informed Roberts that he was experiencing some soreness and minor bumps and bruises but attributed his survival to divine intervention. Despite the chaos, Pickett remained focused on his duties, ensuring the safety of his passengers by directing the captain to dock the boat.