Two Indiana Men Charged After July 4 'Attempted Lynching'

Vauhxx Booker posted videos of his harrowing ordeal on Facebook.

Two men accused of attempting to lynch a Black man on July 4 have been charged.

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources announced on Friday that “after a thorough review of the evidence”, Monroe County Prosecuting Attorney Erika Oliphant had request warrants for Sean M. Purdy and Jerry Edward Cox II — two of the men who appeared in the unsettling video shot over Independence Day weekend.

Purdy is charged with Criminal Confinement — a level 5 felony — as well as Battery Resulting in Moderate Bodily Injury, and Intimidation, both level 6 felonies.

Cox is charged with Aiding, Inducing or Causing Criminal Confinement — also Level 5 felony— as well as level 6 Battery Resulting in Moderate Bodily Injury; he is also charged with misdemeanor Intimidation and Battery.

If found guilty of any level 6 felonies, either man could face 2-and-a-half years in jail, as well as a $10,000 fine.

Vauhxx Booker, the victim of the alleged attack, called it an “attempted lynching”, claiming the men threatened to break his arms and “get a noose”.

He was crossing a forest on July 4 with a group of friends to join a gathering watching the lunar eclipse at Lake Monroe, when he said they were accosted by a white man wearing an oversized hat with a confederate flag, who accused them of being on private property.

Sharing his full account and multiple videos on Facebook, Booker said the group continued to follow them until two jumped him from behind, before three more joined in the attack.

“The five were able to easily overwhelm me and got me to the ground and dragged me pinning my body against a tree as they began pounding on my head and ripped off some of my hair, with several of them still on top of my body holding me down,” he recalled.

He said they continued to beat him for several minutes, and at one point one of them jumped on his neck with both feet while he was on the ground.

The commotion began to attract others; in the frightening videos, people can be seen begging the mob to let Booker, whom they have pinned against the tree, go — while others aggressively attempt to swipe the recording phones out of their hands.

“The attackers told the growing group ‘we’re going to break his arms’ (while literally attempting to bend my arms behind me),” Booker wrote, claiming members of the party shouted “get a noose.”

“With me still pinned underneath them they kept telling onlookers to leave the, ‘boy’ and that everyone else (all white) could go,” he continued. “Folks then started filming the confrontation, and shouting that they wouldn’t leave me to be killed.”

A number of videos shot by Booker’s friends show the group being followed by a group of white shirtless men, carrying beer cans, singling out Booker and shouting racist abuse at him. One of the men, who appears to be inebriated, continuously calls him a “nappy headed bitch … with your five white friends,” while repeatedly branding the group of friends “liberal f–ks”.

Booker claimed in his post that they called 9-1-1 afterward, who then referred him to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. When DNR officers arrived, they spoke to the attackers first, before relaying to the Prosecutor’s office there was “no immediate need to arrest anyone,” and that the officers would simply “file a report”.

“I’m gravely concerned that if any other people of color who were to cross their path they could be killed,” Booker wrote.

“Bloomington we’ve had three public incidents involving overtly racists individuals who were then backed by the police within a month,” he added. “Are we going to wait for a Black person to be lying dead in the gutter before we act? When is enough actually enough?”

Booker’s attorney Katharine Liel told the IndyStar that if witnesses had not been there with cameras, “we would be planning a memorial service.”

“I truly believe that Vauhxx would have been killed by those animals if people weren’t there. I believe those people had lynching on their minds.”

[via TooFab]

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