Indiana Man Who Survived Attempted Lynching Now Faces Charges Himself


A Black man in Indiana accused two white men of attacking him last year. A year later, he was charged in the incident himself. Now, he’s calling for the special prosecutor on the case to resign. 

According to NBC News, Vauhxx Booker, a local activist in Bloomington, told authorities Sean Purdy and Jerry Edward Cox of assaulting him while making his way to a park on July 4, 2020. At one point during the attack, Booker said one of the men yelled “get a noose.” 

During an investigation, Purdy told state authorities that an argument ensued after he told Booker and his friend they were on private property and claimed Booker punched him during the dispute. 

Both Purdy and Cox were arrested and charged with multiple felonies including criminal confinement, intimidation, and battery by Monroe County prosecutor Erika Oliphant who soon recused herself from the case. That’s when special prosecutor Sonia Leerkamp stepped in. 

State investigators released a report at the time of the incident finding criminal wrongdoing by Purdy, Cox, and Booker. The report said Booker could face potential charges, but Oliphant didn’t move forward with bringing them against Booker. 

In a turn of events, Leerkamp charged Booker on Friday (August 6) with felony battery and misdemeanor criminal trespass.

Booker disavowed the charges, saying they were retaliation after he refused to complete a mediated resolution with the white men who attacked him.

During a press conference on Monday (August 2), Booker said he would have been open to resolving the case but decided against it after finding out he would have to sign a confidentiality agreement and offer public forgiveness to Purdy and Cox. 

“I’m not going to back down from this. I’m not going to just let these folks go on about their life like they didn’t victimize me,” Booker said. “I’m going to stand up for myself.” 

Booker and his attorneys are calling on Leerkamp to resign. 

“Once again, there’s nothing more American than charging a Black man in his own attempted lynching,” Booker said at the press conference. “I wasn’t surprised because, for the entire year the special prosecutor has pressured and bullied me at every turn that if I didn’t … let charges be dismissed that she would charge me.” 

“It wasn’t out of any new evidence or any shocking revelation. It was simply that, once again, I was telling a white person no and they were going to punish me.”

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