What really happened to Vauhxx Booker?

Black man who claimed White men tried to lynch him now faces criminal charges.


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Indiana lynching
Vauhxx Booker

It is a case that has shocked, appalled, and also perplexed America in equal measure.

A Black man from Indiana who alleged that a group of White men attacked him during last year’s Fourth of July celebrations has now been hit with criminal charges himself.

Vauhxx Rush Booker, of Seymour, was charged late last week with felony battery resulting in moderate bodily injury and misdemeanor criminal trespass in the July 2020 encounter at Lake Monroe, the Herald-Times reported.

Last year, in the immediate aftermath of the incident, the case seemed clear cut.

Within days of the confrontation, two White men were charged by prosecutors. Evidence included video footage of the alleged attack as well as the testimony of eyewitnesses.

Sean Purdy, 45, of Pittsboro, was charged with criminal confinement with bodily injury, battery with moderate injury and intimidation.

Jerry Edward Cox II, 39, of Danville, was also charged with inducing or causing criminal confinement and battery, as well as three misdemeanors, the newspaper reported.

Booker, an activist and member of the Monroe County Human Rights Commission, said at the time of the incident that five men accused him of trespassing on private property and pinned him to a tree as one of them said to “get a noose.”

He provided his account of the confrontation in a detailed Facebook post.

Monroe County Prosecutor Erika Oliphant did not file charges against Booker, 37, before passing the case along to a special prosecutor despite a 68-page Indiana Department of Natural Resources report that recommending charging all three men.

The report determined evidence justified battery and trespassing charges against Booker for allegedly punching Cox and Purdy, as well as for returning to the private property where the fight took place after being escorted away.

Booker, 37, said this week that the charges against him are racially motivated, the Herald-Times reported.

“There’s nothing more American than charging a Black man in his own attempted lynching,” Booker said outside the Monroe County courthouse. “I’m not this black man traipsing across the land attacking white folk,” he said. “The issue is me and what I look like.”

The FBI announced last July that it was investigating the alleged attack against Booker as a possible hate crime.

Booker has an initial hearing set for Sept. 14. He denied the allegations Monday.

So what really happened between Purdy, Cox and Booker?

Certainly, it now seems a more complex case than it appeared at first glance.

Yet many in the local community apparently support Booker’s view that the charges against him are racially motivated.

An online petition signed by more than 1,300 people calls for the charges against Booker to be dropped and for Leerkamp to resign. Booker reportedly faces more than three years in prison and up to $15,000 in fines if convicted.

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Stephen White
Stephen White
1 month ago

The article needs to explain better: The white guys were charged within less than two weeks- but all indications are, the prosecutor only filed because of public pressure. her case got much, much weaker from July 4 to the charging date – her main witness, Booker, stopped talking to the police -police drop investigations all the time for this “the victim would not cooperate with us” is the reason given. So, though he made allegations, off camera, on July 4, and repeated and amplified them online afterwards, he DID NOT SIGN A COMPLAINT – so then one HAS to ask… Read more »

Joe Stokes
1 month ago
Reply to  Stephen White

Appreciate your comments, Stephen. Thanks. You’ve obviously been following the case closely. It’s certainly an interesting one!

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