INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The attorney for two people shown in a viral video of an incident at Lake Monroe on July 4 say there’s another side to the story.
That video shows a man, Sean Purdy, 44, hold Vauhxx Booker to the ground.
The video, posted on Booker’s Facebook page, also shows him being held against a tree.
Purdy’s attorney, David Hennessy, said Monday that what led up to these moments is much different than what Booker has said. Booker filed a battery report with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources after the incident. The FBI and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources are investigating the incident, but neither has announced that they have completed their work. Booker said he’d met with FBI agents on Monday.
No arrests have been made and no charges have been filed.
Hennessy said in a news conference outside his Indianapolis law office, “No talk of a noose. No talk of a rope. No talk of a lynching. No ‘white power.’ You don’t have all the video. Mr. Booker said he survived this near-lynching yet he stays to videotape people as he race-baits them.”
The attorney said Booker came across private property and that he knew he was trespassing while on his way to a another outing. Hennessy said Purdy gave Booker a ride on his all-terrain vehicle and pointed him in the right direction. Booker gave Purdy a beer for the help, and the two parted ways peacefully.
Hours later, Booker came back.
“But, he comes and asserts and claims to be a county commissioner and says he is going to fine these people. He declares he is going ruin their lives. He gets in Caroline’s face, jabbing a finger. Her boyfriend, Mr. Purdy, steps in between them to get distance for her. He is afraid for her. Mr. Booker then hits him three times, so he is restrained,” Hennessy said.
The lawyer said Purdy nor Caroline McCord said anything that was racially insensitive, but Hennessy admitted at least one other person did. No one in Purdy and McCord’s group of friends recorded the event, and their lawyer questioned why Booker seems to have plenty of video.
“It is interesting when he comes back and then all of sudden people jump out with videotaping. It is almost like that was staged,” Hennessy said.
“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 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.”
Statement from attorney Katharine Leill and her client, Vauhxx Booker, issued by Shoshanah Wolfson, Booker’s publicist