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Attorney for Vauhxx Booker denies he instigated Lake Monroe incident

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Posted at 1:12 PM, Jul 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-14 13:27:26-04

BLOOMINGTON — An attorney representing Vauhxx Booker denied her client instigated a racially charged incident on July 4 at Lake Monroe and said he spoke with the FBI on Monday.

In a written statement, Booker's lawyer, Katharine Liell, wrote the FBI has opened a hate crime investigation. On Tuesday, an FBI spokesperson would not confirm or deny the hate crime investigation.

"The FBI does not comment on ongoing investigations," the FBI spokesperson said. "If and when charges are filed, it will be a matter of public record."

On Monday, David Hennessy, an attorney representing Sean Purdy and Caroline McCord, two of the people seen in a video that partially captures the incident that Booker said was an "attempted lynching," said in a news conference that Booker was the "instigator and agitator."

Hennessy also accused Booker of creating "a false narrative that he is perpetuating with the media" and called on him to take a polygraph test.

RELATED | Indiana DNR investigating 'attempted lynching' of Black man at Lake Monroe | Lawyers for man accused of racially motivated attack at Lake Monroe say victim's allegations 'false'

Liell wrote that Booker did not provoke anyone to hold him against his will. She added that he did not lose his temper before he was shown on video being held on the ground next to a tree.

Liell also wrote that Booker does not need to take a polygraph test and that he was the person who called 911 to report the incident.

"Vauhxx Booker is a victim of an attempted lynching and violent prejudice fueled attack," Liell wrote. "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."

Booker's attorney also wrote there are witnesses "who saw Sean Purdy's aggression and who heard the racist slurs of his friends."

"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," Liell wrote. "This afternoon while attorneys 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 investigation."

Liell concluded her statement by calling for action to be taken against the people Booker accused in the incident.

"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," Liell wrote. "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."

Read Liell's full statement below:

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 attorneys 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 investigation.

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.