White Alabama boat brawler's mom says the fight 'wasn't racial'
EXCLUSIVE: White Alabama boat brawler Zachery Shipman’s mom says the melee ‘wasn’t racial’ as cops claim there is not enough evidence to label it a hate crime
- Zachery Shipman, 25, is one of three white men facing assault charges for the brawl at an Alabama boating dock
- His mother Melissa Calvert, 50, told DailyMail.com, ‘This wasn’t a racial thing, that’s well known. But now some are trying to say that it was’
- Viral cell phone footage showed a black riverboat crew member being attacked by one of the sunburnt shirtless white boaters before the fight broke out
The fiery mom of an accused Alabama boat ‘brawler’ launched an expletive laden tirade to defend her son after DailyMail.com tried to talk to her about the astonishing scenes that went viral around the world.
Melissa Calvert, whose son Zachery Shipman, 25, is one of three men facing assault charges, furiously denied the fight between the white pleasure boaters and black riverboat crew was racially motivated.
The 50-year-old business owner ranted to DailyMail.com: ‘Everybody is just trying to stir up s**t. That’s all that’s happening.
‘This wasn’t a racial thing, that’s well known. But now some are trying to say that it was.’
Zachery Chase Shipman’s mother Melissa Calvert, 50, told DailyMail.com, ‘This wasn’t a racial thing, that’s well known. But now some are trying to say that it was’
Zachery Chase Shipman, 25, is one of three white men facing assault charges for the brawl at an Alabama boating dock
Shipman is seen seated and handcuffed on the dock after the brawl along with other assailants while shirtless and visibly sunburnt
Calvert lashed out at a DailyMail.com reporter and ranted, ‘Everybody is just trying to stir up s**t. That’s all that’s happening’
Shipman is reported to be the owner of Vasser’s convenience store, a small unit beside a Marathon gas station on a road leading out of historic Selma, about 50 miles from Alabama state capital Montgomery
Shipman’s girlfriend, Mary Todd, is believed to be the woman seen in the viral video kicking Damien Pickett after he was downed in the melee. She turned herself into Montgomery cops Thursday and was charged with third degree assault
Shrugging her shoulders, she continued: ‘What are you doing here anyhow? There’s no other news in the world? This isn’t even a story.’
Calvert lashed out hours after the skipper of river cruiser Harriott II differed from his earlier reported views – and said Saturday evening’s brawl at Montgomery’s Riverfront Park was down to race.
Black senior crew member Damien Pickett, 31, was seen in cell phone footage asking white boaters to move their pontoon vessel a few feet in order to let the Harriott II dock in its usual spot on the Alabama River.
Allen Todd, 23, also turned himself into Montgomery police late Wednesday, more than 24 hours after warrants were issued
But viral cell phone footage taken by some of the 227 passengers on the riverboat then showed Pickett being attacked by one of the sunburnt shirtless boaters – and the scene escalate into violent mayhem that led to 13 people being detained.
Shipman, 25, is reported to be the owner of Vasser’s convenience store, a small unit beside a Marathon gas station on a road leading out of historic Selma, about 50 miles from Alabama state capital Montgomery.
He along with Allen Todd, 23 – also from Selma – turned themselves into Montgomery police late Wednesday, more than 24 hours after warrants were issued, Major Saba Coleman told DailyMail.com.
When DailyMail.com went into Vasser’s to ask to speak with Shipman before he surrendered to cops, an employee said: ‘He’s not here, don’t know where he is. He’s not been around for days.’
At that point Calvert came out from the back of the store and also claimed she had no idea where her son was, despite him being asked to report to police.
‘I’m the owner of this store,’ she insisted. ‘He’s got an attorney, speak with him.’ When DailyMail.com asked for the attorney’s name and details, Calvert said she didn’t know them – then threatened us with the police.
Minutes later, after our reporter had left the premises and was parked well away from Vasser’s, Calvert drove up in her large Infiniti QX80 SUV and shouted out of her lowered passenger side window.
It was then that she launched into her tirade in defense of her son over race accusations, at times wildly waving her arms. Asked again if she could give the name of Shipman’s attorney or put her side of the story, she refused.
Jim Kittrell, the captain of the Harriott II, claimed the attack on Montgomery’s Riverfront Park was racially motivated
The ugly incident was sparked after the Harriott II and its passengers waited for 45 minutes as the captain tried to reach the pontoon boat users via a PA system to get then to shift their vessel
The shocking brawl was caught on video from several angles and posted across social media
Twenty four hours earlier, Harriott II skipper Jim Kittrell said: ‘The white guys that attacked my deckhand – and he was a senior deckhand first mate – I can’t think of any other reason they attacked him other than it being racially motivated.
‘All he did was move the boat up three feet. It makes no sense to have six people beat the snot out of you just because you moved their boat up a few feet.
‘In my opinion, the attack on Damien was racially motivated.’
Pickett, who was seen hurling his black cap in the air as a prelude to defending himself against the physical onslaught, spoke exclusively with DailyMail.com on Wednesday – but would not be drawn on any possible racial element.
Wearing a blue t-shirt, he partially opened the door of his modest home in Montgomery and spoke in a soft voice, saying: ‘I’m OK. I don’t have any serious injuries.
‘But I’ve been told by the police not to speak about the incident until the investigation is over.’
Pickett, who lives with his mother Bernadette, was taken to the hospital after standing his ground in the brawl. He insisted again: ‘I am OK.’
Shipman had admitted being at the scene in a now deleted social media post in which he said: ‘I tried to stop it and realized I could not, so I tried to get away.
‘There is a video of me being the first to run away because what was happening was wrong and I did not want to be part of it.’
However, a photo on social media purportedly shows Shipman sitting handcuffed on the boat dock.
The fight started after Damien Pickett, the black deckhand, was attacked by the white boater
Todd and Shipman are charged with assault along with 48-year-old Richard Roberts (pictured) – who is accused of punching 16-year-old Daniel Warren in the incident
The other man being held by Montgomery Police is Richard Roberts, 48 – who DailyMail.com understands is the man first seen fighting with Pickett.
He voluntarily surrendered immediately after a warrant was issued and faces two counts of assault, the second against 16-year-old deckhand Darren Warren.
Adding to the claims of a racial attack, Warren’s mother has claimed to police she heard one of the attackers say ‘f**k that n***** before the brawl started, it is reported.
Roberts, Todd, and Shipman were released from Montgomery’s municipal jail on Thursday morning, Major Saba Coleman of the city’s police told DailyMail.com.
Crystal Warren said she saw the entire interaction and claimed she heard one of the white aggressors threaten to get a gun, according to legal documents obtained by TMZ.
Roberts’s wife Jennifer, also 48, is understood by DailyMail.com to be the woman who was smashed on the head with a white folding chair in an ensuing melee by a black man, alleged to be 44-year-old Reggie Gray.
The couple live in an isolated property surrounded by woodland in Orrville, a few miles outside Selma – the city famous for Bloody Sunday in 1965 when the then-25-year-old black activist John Lewis led more than 600 people over the Edmund Pettus Bridge and faced brutal attacks by state troopers, galvanizing the fight against racial injustice.
Gray, who was seen on viral videos being handcuffed by police who arrived at the scene at 7pm, had not turned himself in Wednesday after being asked to by cops.
Allen Todd’s parents are Rachel and Steve Todd, who is president of Todd Trucking Company, based in Selma. Shipman’s girlfriend is a Todd – Troy University alumni Mary Elizabeth.
Mary Todd is believed to be the woman seen in the viral video kicking Damien Pickett after he was downed in the melee. turned herself into Montgomery cops Thursday and was charged with third degree assault.
The girl in white who was either thrown or fell into the water as the violence escalated is Mary Haugen, Allen Todd’s girlfriend, sources told DailyMail.com.
Montgomery Police chief Darryl Albert said at a Tuesday press conference there was not enough evidence to make hate crime charges, but that could be amended as the investigation continued.
Police have also asked to speak with Reggie Gray, allegedly the black man who was seen throwing a folding chair. He has not been charged
‘As we identify additional folks that we need to talk to, we will ask them to come in … and do further investigation to see if the charges are appropriate,’ he said. ‘ I don’t think we’re near finished.’
Later, the chief told CNN: ‘As new developments come forward, we will amend charges as necessary.
‘If it rises to the level of hate crimes, if it rises to the level of inciting a riot, or whatever that looks like, we will do just that.’
The ugly incident was sparked after the Harriott II and its passengers waited for 45 minutes as the captain tried to reach the pontoon boat users via a PA system to get then to shift their vessel.
This was met with ‘obscene gestures, curse words and taunting’, said Chief Albert.
Co-captain Pickett was then transported from the Harriott by another boat and brought to the dock to speak with the pontoon boat owners to ask them to move.
But the owners confronted him in a ‘very hostile manner,’ said Albert. Pickett was ‘attacked by several members of the private boat,’ he added.
Montgomery mayor Steven Read said the fight was ‘brought on by reckless individuals who did not use good judgment and caused an event that was avoidable’.
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