Boaters plead guilty in riverfront brawl


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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Two white boaters on Friday pleaded guilty to harassment charges in connection with an Alabama riverfront braw l that drew national attention.

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The two men pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charge as part of a plea deal, according to court records. The August riverfront melee in Montgomery drew national attention after bystanders filmed white boaters hitting a Black riverboat co-captain and then crew members and bystanders rushing to his defense. Video of the fight was shared widely online, sparking countless memes and parodies.

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A judge on Thursday also dismissed an assault charge filed by one of the white boaters against the riverboat co-captain. The Montgomery Police Department said the co-captain was a victim in the assaults.

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.

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The guilty pleas concluded the last of the criminal cases brought against four white boaters in connection with the melee. The two men were ordered to complete an anger management class and perform community service. They will not serve any jail time unless they violate probation terms.

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One white boater previously pleaded guilty to a charge of misdemeanor assault and was sentenced to serve 32 days in jail. Another white boater pleaded guilty to misdemeanor harassment. A Black man, who was filmed swinging a folding chair during the brawl, is charged with disorderly conduct and will go to court next week.

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