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Man accuses riverboat co-captain of assault during Alabama riverfront brawl

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — A Black riverboat co-captain at the center of an Alabama riverfront brawl that drew national attention has been accused of misdemeanor assault in the melee by one of the white boaters charged in the fight.

Court records show one of the white men accused of assaulting the co-captain during the August brawl filed a complaint last month saying the co-captain hit him first during the chaotic melee. The co-captain faces a charge of misdemeanor assault, according to court records.

"I was not trying to fight," the man wrote in a statement. The complaint was filed Oct. 26 ahead of the man's Nov. 16 trial on a misdemeanor assault charge of hitting and kicking the riverboat co-captain.

The August riverfront melee in Montgomery drew national attention after bystanders filmed white boaters hitting a Black riverboat co-captain and others rushing to his defense. Video of the fight was shared widely online, sparking countless memes and parodies.

Montgomery police said the brawl began when the white boaters refused to move their pontoon boat so the city-owned Harriott II riverboat could dock in its designated space. The boat's co-captain said he was attacked after moving the pontoon boat a few feet to make way for the riverboat.

Five other people were previously charged in the brawl. Two white boaters previously pleaded guilty to charges of misdemeanor assault or harassment. Three other people, including a Black man who was filmed swinging a folding chair, have upcoming court dates.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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The Associated Press