Back on the weekend of July 4, Vauhxx Booker, a local civil rights activist and a member of the Human Rights Commission, was at Monroe Lake, near Bloomington, when he was approached by a group of men who accused him of trespassing. Booker claimed that he apologized to the men, but then the incident allegedly turned violent.
As The Associated Press reported at the time, five men allegedly attacked Booker. One purportedly threatened to break his arm and instructed another to “get a noose,” while telling Booker’s friends to leave the area. At other times during the confrontation, the alleged assailants were reportedly heard calling Booker a “nappy headed (expletive).”
At another point, a man allegedly yelled, “You invaded us!” and called someone in Booker’s group a “stupid (expletive) liberal (expletive).”
Booker said that one of the men wore a hat bearing a Confederate flag, while other men in the group referenced “white power.”
Portions of the incident were captured on cell phone video and posted to social media, and can be seen below. Be warned: this video contains content that may be disturbing to some viewers.
“We were calm and polite, but looking back now, it’s apparent that these individuals began targeting our group the moment they saw myself, a Black man, and were looking to provoke a conflict,” Booker said at the time.
He claimed that he suffered a minor concussion, cuts, bruises and had patches of his hair pulled out.
On Friday, Monroe County prosecutors charged Sean Purdy with battery resulting in moderate bodily injury and intimidation, both of which are felonies. Jerry Cox II has been charged with felony criminal confinement and battery resulting in moderate bodily injury, as well as misdemeanor counts of aiding, inducing or causing criminal confinement, according to WISH-TV.
Charges may yet be forthcoming against Booker himself, as the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which investigated the incident, suggested that he could be charged with two misdemeanor counts of battery and a misdemeanor count of criminal trespass.
Similarly, the same DNR report also suggested that a fourth man, Ian Watkins, could be charged with a misdemeanor count of criminal trespass.
David Hennessy, Purdy’s defense attorney said that Booker was “putting forth a false narrative” about what happened, and that Booker “was the instigator and the agitator.”