BLOOMINGTON – As of Wednesday night, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources is still investigating an incident at Lake Monroe on July 4th that is gaining national attention.
The incident was captured on video that has now gone viral. A black man named Vauhxx Booker said a group of white men assaulted him and threatened to “get a noose” after claiming that he and his friends had trespassed on private property at Lake Monroe in Monroe County.
Law enforcement officers with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) responded and are investigating, said Capt. Jet Quillen. A final report will be forwarded to the Monroe County Prosecutor’s Office, who will decide whether any charges should be filed.
The Monroe County Prosecutor’s Office told CBS4 on Wednesday they expect to get something soon from DNR.
David Younce is a spokesperson for the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy. While he cannot speak on this specific case, he knows the training conservation officers must go through.
“They are given the same training as any police officer in terms of how to take initial report, is there a crime going on, how do we investigate the facts of what is taking place.” said Younce.
Younce explains their training can last about a year and conservation officers see more training overall then most officers in the state.
“Aside from traffic law and criminal law they are responsible for the conservation laws and there are a bunch of laws pertaining to hunting, fishing, boat operations,” he said.
The community is now waiting to learn if criminal charges will be filed against the men in the video. For the first time, Governor Holcomb shared his thoughts on this incident.
“The brief video clip that I viewed with my own two eyes was beyond disturbing,” said Governor Holcomb.
In the meantime, state environmental groups are calling on the Monroe County Prosecutor and Indiana DNR to act swiftly. Sierra Club, Hoosier Environmental Council and Friends of Lake Monroe published a joint statement to urge Indiana DNR to condemn racism on the state’s public lands and take a fresh look at its policies and procedures.
“This is a bigger problem that we have to address. We make people feel safe in our outdoor areas and we need DNR to work with us on finding solutions,” said Bowden Quinn, Chapter Director of Sierra Club.