INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Two men were charged Friday after a Black man said 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 as they gathered at a southern Indiana lake over the Fourth of July weekend.
Monroe County prosecutors charged Sean Purdy with felonies of criminal confinement, battery resulting in moderate bodily injury and intimidation. Jerry Cox II has been charged with felony criminal confinement and battery resulting in moderate bodily injury, as well as two misdemeanors.
The charges follow weeks of protests demanding arrests in the assault on Vauhxx Booker, a local civil rights activist and member of the Monroe County Human Rights Commission. Booker said he called 911 after the men assaulted him and pinned him to a tree at the lake just south of Booker’s hometown of Bloomington.
David Hennessy, a criminal defense attorney for Purdy, had no immediate comment on the charges. Hennessy previously said Booker has been “putting forth a false narrative” about what happened. Hennessy alleged that Booker “was the instigator and the agitator.”
It wasn't immediately known if Cox had a lawyer who could speak on his behalf.
Booker said the group of five men accused him of trespassing on private property. After he tried to apologize, the situation got physical. Booker said the men threatened to break his arms and said, “get a noose,” while telling his friends to leave the area. Booker also said one of the men had a hat with a Confederate flag on it and that the men made statements about “white power.”
Casey Smith is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.