A man who police say swung a folding chair at the Montgomery Brawl is out of jail after people raised thousands


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  • Reggie Ray has been charged with disorderly conduct for his involvement in the August 5 brawl.

  • Ray’s lawyer says his client was “involuntarily roped into the disorderly conduct.”

  • People online have raised thousands for Ray and others who were at the brawl.

A man who police said was responsible for grabbing a white folding chair and swinging it at people during a riverside skirmish in Montgomery, Alabama, is no longer in jail.

Local station WSFA reported that Reggie Ray, who turned himself in on Friday, was seen leaving the Montgomery Municipal Jail. The outlet reported Ray had posted bail.

Lee Merritt, a civil rights attorney representing multiple people from the brawl, wrote on Instagram that his client was released from municipal jail on Saturday morning.

“Mr. Reggie Ray is out,” Merritt wrote. “He is in good spirits. He got a speeding ticket on the way home but he was relieved to discover the community showed up for him and others in such strong way.”

Ray, 42, was charged with disorderly conduct, the Montgomery Police Department said in a statement sent to Insider.

In a statement to ABC News, Merritt said Ray had been “involuntarily roped into the disorderly conduct initiated by a violent white mob” but will continue participating in the ongoing investigation.

Merritt did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider outside of regular business hours.

Ray’s release comes after a GoFundMe set up by Merritt raised over $220,000 as of Saturday evening. Insider could not verify if the funds raised were used for his bail.

Four other people have also been charged in connection to the brawl. Richard Roberts, 48, was charged with two counts of third-degree assault. Mary Todd, 21, Allen Todd, 23, and Zachery Shipman, 25, were charged with one count of third-degree assault, according to Darryl J. Albert, the chief of the MPD.

All four people have turned themselves in as of Thursday, MPD said in the statement.

According to police, the August 5 incident — now dubbed the Montgomery, Alabama, riverfront brawl online and even by city officials — ignited after a group of white people refused to move their small boat from a docking spot designated for a riverboat known as the Harriott II. When the boat’s co-captain, 43-year-old Dameion Pickett, tried to reason with the group, one of the white boaters rushed and swung at Pickett, police said.

Videos posted online showed more people attacking Pickett as he defended himself, and bystanders came to the defense of Pickett as a result. It eventually became a massive melee with dozens of people involved, Insider reported.

The chair, and the man behind it, became an internet favorite after videos surfaced of him whacking a few people with it before he was detained.

Following the brawl, people posed with the chair near the dock. Some even called for it to become a permanent feature of Black history.

On TikTok, users began posting videos humorously training for their next fight (or their next tennis match) using folding chairs.

Following Ray’s arrest, people on Twitter began asking to “Free Reggie” and began denying that they had ever seen a man using a folding chair in the first place.

As for whether or not any hate-crime charges or charges for inciting a riot would be brought, MPD said Tuesday that they did not believe the events “fit the criteria” for such charges based on current evidence.

However, Jim Kittrell, Captain of the Harriott II, told the Daily Beast that he did not believe there was “any other reason” than racism that would motivate the group of men to attack his shipmate.

“The white guys that attacked my deckhand — and he was a senior deckhand first mate — I can’t think of any other reason they attacked him other than it being racially motivated,” Kittrell told the Daily Beast. “All he did was move their boat up three feet. It makes no sense to have six people try to beat the snot out of you just because you moved their boat up a few feet. In my opinion, the attack on Damien was racially motivated.”

Read the original article on Insider

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Alexandra Williams
Alexandra Williams
Alexandra Williams is a writer and editor. Angeles. She writes about politics, art, and culture for LinkDaddy News.

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