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Black man assaulted at Lake Monroe faces criminal charges 1 year after incident

Vauhxx Booker speaks to the hundreds gathered at the Monroe County courthouse, Monday, July 6, 2020, in Bloomington, Ind.

Vauhxx Booker, a local civil rights activist and member of the Monroe County Human Rights Commission, was charged with misdemeanor trespass and felony battery for his involvement in last year’s Fourth of July incident at Lake Monroe, according to court documents filed Friday by a special prosecutor in the case.

Posted: Aug 2, 2021 3:48 PM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A Black man who said a group of white men assaulted him and threatened to “get a noose” at a southern Indiana lake is facing criminal charges more than a year after the confrontation that earlier led to charges against two of the alleged attackers.

Vauhxx Booker, a local civil rights activist and member of the Monroe County Human Rights Commission, was charged with misdemeanor trespass and felony battery for his involvement in last year’s Fourth of July incident at Lake Monroe, according to court documents filed Friday by a special prosecutor in the case.

Booker condemned the decision, calling it an “outrageous act of punitive retaliation and prosecutorial vindictiveness.”

“This incident has been a continual case of a victim being re-victimized by the system,” Booker’s legal team said in statement Monday. “It is the victim in this assault – Vauhxx Booker — who is being made to pay for having stood his ground against malicious racist name-calling, physical assault, and threats against his life.”

The alleged assault gained national attention last summer when Booker said he called 911 after five men assaulted him and pinned him to a tree at the lake just south of Bloomington.

He said the men accused him of trespassing on private property and, after he tried to apologize, the situation got physical.

Booker said the men threatened to break his arms and said, “get a noose,” while telling his friends to leave the area.

He said one of the men wore a hat decorated with a Confederate flag and that the men made statements about “white power.”

Witnesses who were with Booker that day said they heard racial slurs being shouted and that someone said “get a noose” and “leave the boy here, we will take care of him.”

Cellphone video posted on Facebook that showed part of the altercation was viewed millions of times online.

The FBI said it was investigating the incident as a possible hate crime, although no further updates have been provided about the investigation.

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources, which responded to the reported assault, recommended charges against everyone involved.

Monroe County prosecutors only charged two white men, however.

Sean Purdy faces charges of felony criminal confinement, battery resulting in moderate bodily injury and intimidation.

Jerry Cox II was charged with felony criminal confinement and battery resulting in moderate bodily injury, as well as two misdemeanors.

Cox and Purdy claimed Booker was trespassing and denied the allegations regarding a noose.

Both maintain that Booker threatened them first, and their lawyers have said the two men are victims of a “smear campaign.”

The case against Cox and Purdy is still pending, awaiting a trial date.

Monroe County Prosecutor Erika Oliphant recused herself from the case in response to public concern about whether she was impartial.

The charges against Booker, filed in Monroe Circuit Court by special prosecutor Sonia Leerkamp, are the same recommended by IDNR investigators last summer.

An initial hearing is set for Sept. 14.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 941120

Reported Deaths: 15315
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1282511983
Lake633041097
Allen53609758
Hamilton43827447
St. Joseph41906590
Elkhart33545490
Vanderburgh30383448
Tippecanoe26820249
Johnson23609417
Hendricks22250341
Porter21737346
Clark17409229
Madison17366384
Vigo16108281
Monroe14466191
LaPorte14311239
Delaware14070221
Howard13865272
Kosciusko11418135
Hancock10841165
Warrick10674177
Bartholomew10542168
Floyd10430205
Wayne9959226
Grant9130204
Morgan8865160
Boone8389111
Dubois7710123
Dearborn762289
Henry7608130
Noble7413101
Marshall7362128
Cass7176117
Lawrence6957153
Shelby6584111
Jackson656785
Gibson6156107
Harrison603786
Huntington600195
Montgomery5805105
DeKalb574291
Knox5494104
Miami542488
Putnam536768
Clinton533665
Whitley524953
Steuben497268
Wabash483592
Jasper479160
Jefferson470092
Ripley454277
Adams444068
Daviess4169108
Scott405865
White391857
Clay390857
Greene388392
Decatur385296
Wells384983
Fayette374278
Posey359941
Jennings353156
Washington332047
LaGrange321375
Spencer317835
Fountain316555
Randolph312888
Sullivan307449
Owen283863
Starke280064
Fulton277553
Orange275859
Jay254837
Perry251652
Carroll243729
Franklin239338
Rush234130
Vermillion233250
Parke219820
Tipton209655
Pike207639
Blackford168334
Pulaski163551
Crawford146018
Newton144345
Benton142516
Brown135346
Martin128217
Switzerland125810
Warren114616
Union96911
Ohio79711
Unassigned0479

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 1365800

Reported Deaths: 21596
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1522221560
Cuyahoga1344852327
Hamilton976051320
Montgomery670271141
Summit562091047
Lucas50900863
Butler47417655
Stark41580976
Lorain31567532
Warren30001331
Mahoning26963639
Clermont25628292
Lake24585417
Delaware22313145
Licking20487241
Fairfield20420221
Greene20309272
Trumbull19866509
Medina19796287
Clark17879328
Richland16314234
Portage16130229
Wood15681208
Allen14115256
Miami13786253
Muskingum12641152
Wayne11946238
Columbiana11708241
Tuscarawas10953269
Marion10725148
Pickaway10465129
Scioto10324127
Erie9747171
Ross9436176
Lawrence8755125
Hancock8458141
Ashtabula8317185
Geauga8173156
Belmont8140187
Jefferson7527172
Huron7423128
Union731851
Washington7183120
Athens697165
Sandusky6848134
Darke6756136
Knox6671122
Seneca6358137
Ashland5948113
Auglaize587188
Shelby5727101
Brown564171
Mercer557890
Defiance5483101
Madison543371
Crawford5425114
Highland541581
Fulton530683
Clinton525580
Logan512182
Preble4994110
Putnam4833106
Guernsey470364
Williams459282
Perry449852
Champaign445964
Ottawa436884
Jackson425362
Pike388843
Morrow383851
Fayette375853
Coshocton374766
Adams360675
Hardin359069
Gallia347356
Holmes3259108
Henry324668
Van Wert314670
Hocking301769
Wyandot280658
Carroll262652
Paulding242243
Meigs213942
Monroe189749
Noble169340
Morgan165829
Harrison157940
Vinton138118
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