As previously reported by REVOLT, a 42-year-old Black man named Reggie Ray surrendered himself to police after being accused of hitting white aggressors with a folding chair during a highly publicized riverboat brawl in Montgomery, AL. Civil rights attorney Lee Merritt, who is representing Ray and others from that incident, confirmed his client’s release shortly after. “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,” the lawyer shared on Instagram. Merritt also mentioned a GoFundMe that was set up “to ensure [the victim’s] needs are met.”
As of today (Aug. 15), the aforementioned fundraiser now has over $275,000 out of the $300,000 requested in donations, with many of the comments written in support of Ray. “Chairs to you, brother, keep swinging till they see stars!” said one contributor. “Old Alabama white boy says give ’em h**l, Reggie,” another stated, confirming that admirers of the riverboat defenders transcend race.
After initial footage of the melee made its rounds on the internet, Black Twitter had a field day with a wealth of memes and captions. The majority of those posts centered on white folding chairs and the incredible stamina of another participant, a 16-year-old identified only as Aaren, who swam to the defense of the initial victim, a riverboat employee named Damien Pickett. As Montgomery Police Chief Darryl J. Albert explained in a press conference, Pickett was attacked by a group of white people who refused to move from a designated parking area. “Mr. Pickett [was] attacked by several members of the private boat. Several members of the Harriott II came to Mr. Pickett’s defense, engaging in what we all have seen since on social media.” Four of those alleged initiators have since been taken into custody.