MONROE COUNTY, Ind. — During a Monday press conference, attorneys representing two people involved in an incident at Lake Monroe on July 4th claimed their clients have been falsely accused.
Attorneys with The Criminal Defense Team: Baldwin, Perry & Kamish addressed claims made by Vauhxx Booker against their clients, Sean Purdy and Caroline McCord.
“It’s time for the truth be told,” said attorney David Hennesy. “Mr. Booker threw the punches. Mr. Booker was restrained. Not beaten. Restrained.”
Vauhxx Booker, a black man, claimed in a Facebook post 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.
The incident was captured on video went viral and gained national attention last week.
Hennesy opened the press conference with the following statement:
There is a grand awakening regarding racial injustice happening in all of our communities. This is long overdue. It is deplorable that a person would be targeted because of his or her race. It is equally deplorable for a person to use his race as a weapon and to arouse public passion over a false allegation.
Attorneys said there has been a “rush to judgement.” According to Hennesy, Purdy and McCord claim that Booker was on private property, informed him of this, and after an amicable discussion, took Booker to the property line and felt that the situation had been resolved.
They said Booker returned hours later and threatened them, claiming to be a County Commissioner.
According to Hennesy, Purdy was punched three times by Booker before restraining him against a tree. They said Booker’s claim of being attacked and dragged to the tree is not true.
“Mr. Booker threw the punches. Mr. Booker was restrained. Not beaten. Restrained.”
Attorneys said there is more video that the public has not seen that will provide proper context and added, “there’s a man in a green shirt that’s very important.”
Purdy and McCord have submitted to polygraphs, cooperated with investigators and the FBI, according to their attorneys.
Hennesy acknowledged that they did not hear or say “get a noose,” but that racially harmful language was used by people known by them. When asked, attorneys said their clients know the people and condemn the language used.
Attorneys added that Booker was goading the man in question that used the language, and believe he was emotional and said words to hurt Booker.
Purdy and McCord are not angry at Booker, attorneys said, and would like to sit down with him to discuss the incident in an effort of “restorative justice.”
Booker’s attorney, Katharine Leill, released the following statement in response:
“Vauhxx Booker is a victim of an attempted lynching and violent prejudice fueled attack.
We listened as you did to the press conference which was held by the attorney’s for Caroline McCord and Sean Purdy and the other people in the group who on July 4th, Independence Day pinned Vauhxx Booker against a tree and shouted vile racist epithets at him.
Sean Purdy and Caroline McCord did not speak to the press. Why not? They did not apologize for the way they treated Vauhxx Booker as can be seen on the video tape.
Mr. Booker did not instigate this encounter; he did not provoke anyone to hold him against his
will. He did not yell or shout or lose his temper. He doesn’t need to take a polygraph test. Look
at the video. There are witnesses who saw Sean Purdy’s aggression and who heard the racist
slurs of his friends. You cannot provoke racism.
It’s Vauhxx Booker who called 911 after he was attacked.
This is what repeatedly happens…. the victim gets blamed and shamed. He gets re-victimized.
Vauhxx Booker is the victim. Black people across the nation have been the victims.
This afternoon while attorney’s for the suspects in the attack on Mr. Booker were meeting with
the press, Vauhxx Booker was meeting with the FBI who have officially opened a hate crime
On one thing we agree. It is time for arrests. It is time for the Monroe County Prosecutor to file
charges against the offenders who threatened to lynch Mr. Booker. It is time these offenders,
who pulled out pieces of Vauhxx Booker’s hair and who gave him a concussion, are held
accountable by the law.”