BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – A man who said he was beaten and threatened during a July 2020 incident in Lake Monroe now faces charges more than a year later.
Vauhxx Booker is accused of battery and trespassing, according to charges filed by a special prosecutor in the case.
Booker was at the center of a July 4, 2020, encounter at Lake Monroe. Video of the incident went viral and gained national attention.
Booker said he was surrounded by a crowd, threatened and called racial slurs. He described the incident as a hate crime and said someone mentioned a noose. He claimed he was held against a tree and punched.
Two others were charged in connection with the incident. Sean M. Purdy was charged with criminal confinement, battery resulting in moderate bodily injury and intimidation.
Jerry Edward Cox II was charged with aiding, inducing or causing criminal confinement, battery resulting in moderate bodily injury, intimidation and battery.
Cox and Purdy claimed Booker was trespassing and denied the allegations regarding a noose.
A report from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources recommended charges against all three individuals in connection with the incident.
However, Monroe County Prosecutor Erika Oliphant charged only Purdy and Cox. Sonia Leerkamp was later assigned as special prosecutor and filed the charges against Booker.
In a statement, Booker condemned Leerkamp’s decision, calling it an “outrageous act of punitive retaliation and prosecutorial vindictiveness.”