Police issue arrests for viral riverfront brawl, but social media finds surprise silver lining: ‘Shows we can coexist’

As “Black Aquaman” made a splash on social media, police in Alabama began issuing arrest warrants related to a massive river dock brawl.

Saturday in Montgomery, Alabama, video of a conflict between evidently racially disparate groups captured multiple angles of an increasingly chaotic scene. In the days since, what was believed to have started over a pontoon boat blocking a city-operated riverboat from docking had taken on a life of its own across the internet.

One angle showed a dock worker who appeared to take matters into his own hands after the owners of the pontoon boat had allegedly ignored instructions to dock it elsewhere. Within minutes, a heated dispute came to blows when one of the men from the boat appeared to shove the dock worker who, in response, threw his cap into the air to signal “It’s on now.”

It was not long after the dock worker looked to be overwhelmed by people believed to be associated with the pontoon boat that the tide seemingly turned in the lone man’s favor. Reinforcements entered the scene along the dock and one of the young men from the riverboat even dove in and swam the gap, earning him a slew of nicknames that referenced famous athletes, fictional characters, and even an actor in calling him “Scuba Gooding Jr.”

Of course, while social media had fun with the Montgomery brawl, police had been called to the scene and a number of participants were seen being handcuffed, including one man who had armed himself with a chair during the melee.

In his initial reaction to the conflict, Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed had said, “Last night, the Montgomery Police Department acted swiftly to detain several reckless individuals for attacking a man who was doing his job. Warrants have been signed and justice will be served.”

“This was an unfortunate incident which never should have occurred. As our police department investigates these intolerable actions, we should not become desensitized to violence of any kind in our community,” he continued. “Those who choose violent actions will be held accountable by our criminal justice system.”

On Monday, Montgomery Police Major Saba Coleman confirmed to media outlets that, “There are 4 active warrants at this time and there’s a possibility more will follow after the review of additional video.”

Reed went on to tell the media, “While there is a lot of activity and interest in this, we know that we’ll come through this together as a community collectively as we have other situations.”

Additionally, a press conference was scheduled for Tuesday afternoon where more details were expected to be provided. In the meantime, the internet continued to have its fun with “Black Aquaman” and his team which included one poolside recreation of fight highlights.


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Kevin Haggerty


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