No public defender for Black man in reported racist attack at Lake Monroe


Vauhxx Booker

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A judge has rescinded the appointment of a public defender for a Black activist who alleges he was assaulted by a group of white men who threatened to lynch him.

Johnson Superior Court Judge Lance Hamner initially granted Vauhxx Booker’s request for a public defender earlier this month, but reversed it days later when he got notice of money that Booker raised through a GoFundMe account, according to The Herald-Times.

In 2020, Booker, a member of the Monroe County Human Rights Commission, posted cellphone video on Facebook that showed part of the altercation. He said he called 911 after the men assaulted him and pinned him to a tree at Lake Monroe, south of Booker’s hometown of Bloomington. He wrote that the men threatened to break his arms and said, “get a noose.”

Two white men were charged with numerous felonies including intimidation, criminal confinement and battery. Booker was charged earlier this year with battery and criminal trespass after withdrawing from a mediation process to resolve the case.

Booker has called it a hate crime. The FBI has said it is investigating.

A friend of Booker’s established a GoFundMe campaign to raise money medical costs, attorney fees, counseling and lost work time. The fund had approximately $36,000 in it as of Sunday.

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