Two suspects charged in July 4 Lake Monroe Case

On Friday, the Monroe County prosecutor’s office charged Sean Purdy and Jerry Cox in connection with the July 4 Lake Monroe incident, in which Vauhxx Booker described himself as “almost the victim of an attempted lynching.”

As of late Friday morning, the MyCase online system indicates there is an active arrest warrant for Purdy, for criminal confinement with bodily injury, battery resulting in moderate bodily injury, and intimidation.

According to the system, there is also an active arrest warrant for Cox for criminal confinement with bodily injury, battery resulting in moderate bodily injury, and intimidation. Continue reading “Two suspects charged in July 4 Lake Monroe Case”

Monroe County prosecutor now “actively reviewing” evidence in July 4 Lake Monroe case

Monroe County prosecutor Erika Oliphant has now received the investigative reports from Indiana Department of Natural resources about a case described in a press release late Wednesday afternoon as “an incident that took place in the forest near Lake Monroe on July 4, 2020.”

2020-07-15 Monroe County prosecutor presser

Ten days earlier, Bloomington activist Vauhxx Booker had described himself in a Facebook post as “almost the victim of an attempted lynching.”

On Monday this week, David Hennessy, an attorney who represents Sean Purdy and Caroline McCord, two of the people who were involved in the incident, and whom Booker is accusing, gave a press conference denying Booker’s version of events.

There’s no word on when the prosecutor’s office might make a decision on possible charges. Continue reading “Monroe County prosecutor now “actively reviewing” evidence in July 4 Lake Monroe case”

No word from prosecutor: July 4 Lake Monroe incident involving Bloomington activist gets tried in court of public opinion

As of early Tuesday morning, there was still no word from the Monroe County prosecutor’s office on possible charges arising from an incident that took place at Lake Monroe on July 4.

cropped 2020-07-14 microphones mic press conference

In a Facebook post the following day, local activist and Monroe County human rights commissioner, Vauhxx Booker, described himself as “almost the victim of an attempted lynching.”

Since then, demonstrations with a few hundred people have been held on the courthouse square in downtown Bloomington and Booker has given a few press conferences. At one of the press events he and his legal counsel called for a federal grand jury to be convened.

On Monday, David Hennessy, an attorney who represents Sean Purdy and Caroline McCord, two of the people who were involved in the incident, and whom Booker is accusing, gave a press conference.

Hennessy argued a case for his clients, saying that Booker was “the instigator and the agitator” in the incident. Continue reading “No word from prosecutor: July 4 Lake Monroe incident involving Bloomington activist gets tried in court of public opinion”

Monroe County prosecutor on assault of Vauhxx Booker: DNR investigation of July 4 case is not yet complete

On Saturday, July 4, at Lake Monroe, Bloomington resident Vauhxx Booker was assaulted by a group of white men in a case Booker has described as an “attempted lynching.”

In a press release issued a little before 5 p.m. on Thursday, the Monroe County prosecutor’s office gave a status update: No charges have been filed because the investigation is not yet complete.

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Facebook videos of an incident described by the man being held down in the left frame as an “attempted lynching.” Image links to Facebook post.

The press release, which came from prosector Erika Oliphant, indicates that no charges have yet been filed, because the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Law Enforcement Division (IDNR Law Enforcement), has not completed its investigation and turned over all its evidence to the prosecutor.

The statement says, “At this time, the Monroe County Prosecutor’s Office cannot speculate as to charges. IDNR Law Enforcement will forward their investigative report to the Prosecutor’s Office immediately upon completion, at which time it will be expeditiously reviewed.”

About the investigation, the press release says, “Since the initial response, IDNR Law Enforcement has been working diligently to complete the investigation.” Continue reading “Monroe County prosecutor on assault of Vauhxx Booker: DNR investigation of July 4 case is not yet complete”

Demonstrators call on Bloomington, Monroe County electeds for action, not words on racism

On Monday evening at the southeast corner of the Monroe County courthouse in downtown Bloomington, Jennifer Crossley introduced herself to a gathering of around 400 people. She used her community leadership credentials: She’s the chair of the Monroe County Democratic Party.

But she told the group she wasn’t going to talk about that role. “Before I am a leader in this community, I am Black,” she told them.

The demonstration was pulled together on short notice. What brought out demonstrators at 5:30 p.m. on Monday were some events that unfolded over the weekend that showed racism is still deeply rooted in the Bloomington community.

On Sunday, Vauhxx Booker, who is an activist and a member of Monroe County’s human rights commission, posted to Facebook a video showing parts of an incident at Lake Monroe on July 4. The video shows him being held down against a tree trunk by a white man who would not let him go. According to Booker, the man told his comrades several times to “get a noose.”

Signs and chants, “Erika, do your job!” identified one elected official from whom the demonstrators wanted action. They want Monroe County prosecutor Erika Oliphant to prosecute those who assaulted Booker. [Updated at 1:45 p.m. on July 7. The latest word from the prosecutor’s office as of 1:37 p.m. is: “The Indiana Conservation Officers continue to conduct interviews and collect evidence related to this case. They have been providing us with regular updates on the progress of their investigation. We anticipate receiving the case soon. As soon as that happens, we will thoroughly review all of it and determine what charges are appropriate.”] Continue reading “Demonstrators call on Bloomington, Monroe County electeds for action, not words on racism”

Monroe County prosecutor to weigh possible charges in case described as “attempted lynching” by target of assault

According to deputy prosecutor Jeff Kehr, the Monroe County prosecutor’s office will be reviewing reports from the Indiana Conservation Officers (ICO) about an “attempted lynching” at Lake Monroe on July 4. The ICO is law enforcement division of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

cropped Vauhxx Screen Shot 2020-07-06 at 10.06.41 AM
Facebook videos of an incident described by the man being held down in the left frame as an “attempted lynching.” Image links to Facebook post.

The ICO will be providing the prosecutor’s office with their investigative reports, witness statements, and digital evidence, according to Kehr. “We will thoroughly review all of the information presented to us and decide what charges are appropriate,” Kehr’s statement said.

On Sunday, Vauhxx Booker, who is an activist and a member of Monroe County’s human rights commission, posted to Facebook a video showing parts of the incident, including footage of him being held down against a tree trunk.

Booker described part of the episode this way: “I tussled with the two and another one joined in, then two more. 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.”

Booker stated in his Facebook post that one of his assailants told his comrades several times to “get a noose.”

Several people, among them elected officials, wrote in Facebook comments that they will be contacting Monroe County prosecutor Erika Oliphant about the incident.

Bloomington’s mayor, John Hamilton, and city clerk, Nicole Bolden issued a joint statement Monday morning about the Lake Monroe incident and a separate one in Bloomington that took place the day before. About the two incidents, their statement said, “They require that we come together as a whole, and recognize that racism damages all of us, not just our residents of color. We deserve better, and we must make it happen.” Continue reading “Monroe County prosecutor to weigh possible charges in case described as “attempted lynching” by target of assault”