The Black dock worker who was attacked in Alabama says he was completely shocked by the series of events.
Dameion Pickett, along with two other crew members, Aaren Hamilton-Rudolph and Roshein “RahRah” Carlton, spoke with “Good Morning America” Monday, giving their version of events about that fateful August day on the Riverfront Park in Montgomery. Pickett says he was looking forward to a typical day at work when the Harriott II was wrapping up a dinner cruise and preparing to dock. However, the ship could not do so because a pontoon that held several white passengers was blocking them. Had Pickett tried to anchor the Harriott II, it would have collided with the float and other vessels. This led to Harriott II staffers asking the occupants of the pontoon to move several times.
“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 explained.
After moving the boat a few feet over to allow the Harriott II to position itself safely, things took a violent turn, and Pickett was jumped by several of the white occupants of the pontoon. Thankfully, several of his Black crew members, passengers, and other witnesses on the dock that day came to his defense.
“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 added.
The now famous crew member who swam across the river has been identified as 16-year-old Aaren Hamilton-Rudolph. Also, speaking with “Good Morning America,” the teen says he was motivated to intervene because people were standing around recording Pickett getting jumped, and no one was helping him.
Several of the attackers have been charged for the incident. Ultimately, the moment sparked an intense social media response, with many people defending Pickett and praising Hamilton-Rudolph.