Written by @kristenshylin_
Two men were charged for the assault against the Black civil rights activist, Vauhxx Booker, who was seen in a viral video being attacked by a group near an Indiana lake, Yahoo! News reported.
According to the Indianapolis Star, Sean Purdy and Jerry Cox are now being charged with multiple crimes, including the confinement and battery of the 36-year-old man.
Monroe Country Prosecutor Erika Oliphant charged Purdy with felony charges of criminal confinement and battery resulting in injury and intimidation. Meanwhile, Cox received charges of aiding or causing unlawful confinement, felony battery resulting in injury, intimidation, and two misdemeanor counts of battery.
There are currently active warrants out for the arrest of the two men, the newspaper reported.
The incident occurred on July 4 at Lake Monroe, where the men yelled racial slurs and attempted to “get a noose.”
Booker, who is also a member of the Monroe County Human Rights Commission, said he and a friend were walking into the public park when they encountered a large, drunk white man wearing a confederate flag hat. The man started following Booker, insisting that he was on private property. Booker assured him that he had permission to be on the property, but the man continued to follow him.
Witnesses posted a video of the altercation, which showed a group of white men holding Booker to a tree as his friends tried to intervene. In the video, you can hear a man yelling at the camera, “You happy about this, you nappy-headed bitch? You and your five white friends?”
Despite the incriminating video, Purdy’s attorneys argue that Booker was the aggressor.
”Mr. Booker needs to tell the truth about punching people and apologize to the people he has harmed and to all real victims of racism because he has diminished them,” they released in a statement.
Purdy’s defense team urged witnesses to speak up and tell “the truth.”
”Mr. Booker was the instigator and agitator, ” the statement said. “There was no problem until Mr. Booker returned for no legitimate reason. He was the aggressor and became threatening.”
The team insisted that Booker started the physical altercation by throwing the first punches, adding that he was not beaten but restrained “for his own safety and the safety of others.”
The statement concluded that Booker is race-baiting the situation.
No charges have been pressed against Booker; in fact, last week, the FBI confirmed that it is investigating the incident as a possible hate crime.
In an interview with NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly, Booker thanked the strangers who helped save his life.
”The reason why I’m here today is simply because these folks, they didn’t just stop and watch and film my execution,” he said. “I saw the face of George Floyd in my mind … I didn’t want to be a hashtag.”