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Riverboat aftermath: Donors raise nearly $300,000 on behalf of crew

The four White boaters who allegedly started the incident have been charged with third-degree assault.
Riverboat aftermath: Donors raise nearly $300,000 on behalf of crew
Posted at 5:20 PM, Aug 18, 2023

Two weeks after the so-called Riverfront Brawl in Montgomery, Alabama, the four White boaters who allegedly started the incident have been charged with third-degree assault.

Another man, Reggie Ray, allegedly seen wielding a chair at those White boaters has been charged with disorderly conduct.

Behind it all, a community is rallying behind people like Ray, who they say defended the Riverboat co-captain.

"We saw these ideas of unity culturally that should be instinctive, and people wanted to be a part of that — brawlers wanted to fight, attorneys wanted to litigate, people who had resources wanted to give to it, we wanted to say, 'Yeah, that's who we are as a community,'" federal civil rights attorney, Lee Merritt told Scripps News.

Merritt is helping Ray and others pursue a potential civil lawsuit. He's started a GoFundMe on their behalf, raising nearly $300,000 so far.

SEE MORE: Here's what really happened with the Alabama riverfront dock brawl

"As a civil attorney that has been practicing over a decade I could see — even a lay person could see — these people would need support, either from injury, or professional services, trauma recovery — this was a traumatic event, "he explained.

Tony and Grammy winning musician Stephanie Mills is also stepping in to support.

"I'm not racist. But I am prejudiced against hate. And I'm prejudiced against wrongdoing," she explained to Scripps News.

Mills is hosting a free concert and visiting with members of the community later this month.

"It really gave me joy that they didn't allow, you know, him to be beaten," she said.

"What are you hoping this music brings to those in attendance?" asked Scripps News National Reporter Amber Strong.

"Joy — joy and a sense of power, a sense of freedom, a sense of knowing that they did the right thing, they did the right thing in helping that man," she explained.

Mills and Merritt say they plan to invest in the community today and beyond. Merritt says part of the resources will be used for scholarships and community homeless initiatives — adding that they've reserved the riverboat, the Harriott II for a reunion of sorts next year.

"We just want to spread a big net to make sure the community is taken care of on our end."


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