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Arrest warrants issued after boaters attack dock employee at Montgomery riverbank

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Police in Montgomery issued four arrest warrants for individuals involved in a massive brawl between white boaters and a Black dock employee at Riverfront Park.

Police in Montgomery, Alabama, issued four arrest warrants for suspects who attacked a Black dock worker in an altercation that led to brawl at a dock at Riverfront Park.

There are four active arrest warrants and "there’s a possibility more will follow after the review of additional video," a police spokesperson told ABC News. Police did not release the identities of the suspects.

Police said officers responded to a disturbance on the 200 block of Coosa Street around 7 p.m. Saturday. Officers found a large group of people engaged in a physical altercation and several were detained at the scene, according to police.

Videos of the brawl were captured by bystanders on cellphone video and posted on social media.

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According to the videos, the fight appeared to begin when a white man attacked a Black dock worker. Several other white individuals joined the altercation, which escalated to a brawl, attacking the Black man. Other videos captured by onlookers show that additional people joined the brawl in an apparent attempt to defend the dock worker.

According to a witness who captured video of the incident, the fight began over a reported dispute between a dock worker and the owners of a pontoon boat.

PHOTO: Several people were arrested on Aug. 5, 2023 after a massive brawl between white boaters and a Black dock employee at Riverfront Park in Montgomery, Alabama.
Several people were arrested on Aug. 5, 2023 after a massive brawl between white boaters and a Black dock employee at Riverfront Park in Montgomery, Alabama.
Christa Owen

The witness, Christa Owen, told ABC News Monday that the individuals who attacked the dock worker did so after they were asked multiple times to move the pontoon boat because it was preventing the ferry from docking.

Owen added that the dock worker, who worked on her boat, got off the ferry and tried to move the pontoon boat after the owners "refused," preventing Owen’s group from docking from their dinner cruise.

"The black pontoon boat parked where the ferry parks. They wouldn't move when we were trying to pull in. It seems what these guys wanted trumped what a couple hundred people on a stranded ferry needed," Owen said, adding that prior to the brawl, the people on her boat repeatedly asked the people on the pontoon boat to move.

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She added, "They just looked at us, decided not to [move the pontoon boat], shrugged their shoulders and left. That's when a crewman disembarked onto a small boat to the dock to do it."

Owen said a couple of hundred people were "stranded on water" until the pontoon boat was moved.

PHOTO: Several people were arrested on Aug. 5, 2023 after a massive brawl between white boaters and a Black dock employee at Riverfront Park in Montgomery, Alabama.
Several people were arrested on Aug. 5, 2023 after a massive brawl between white boaters and a Black dock employee at Riverfront Park in Montgomery, Alabama.
Christa Owen

Videos of the incident went viral on Sunday evening, prompting a response from the city’s mayor, who called for justice to be served.

"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," Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed said in a statement posted on this Twitter account on Sunday.

Reed said the brawl 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," the mayor added. "Those who choose violence will be held accountable by our criminal justice system."

ABC News’ Ben Stein and Kerem Inal contributed to this report.

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