Indiana man who survived attempted lynching charged for fighting back

The hate group tore off some of Vauhxx Rush Booker's hair as they beat his head and body, while yelling “White power.”

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A Black man in Indiana who was almost lynched by a mob of white men in the woods is now being charged for defending himself during the attack.

As theGRIO previously reported, the man identified as Vauhxx Rush Booker on Facebook detailed the July 4 encounter he had with a group of drunk white men who claimed he and his friends were on private property last year. The confrontation turned violent when a mob of purported white supremacists attacked Booker and attempted to lynch him as he sought to retreat from the area.

Vauhxx Rush Booker thegrio.com
Vauhxx Rush Booker (Credit: Facebook)

A total of five people reportedly jumped Booker, dragging his body and pinning him against a tree. The hate group tore off some of his hair as they beat his head and body, and one of the males yelled “White power.”

During the attack, one of the men pressed his full body weight on Booker’s neck. 

Thankfully, Booker was saved when bystanders showed up to intervene and began filming, which caused the attackers, at first, to get more aggressive.

“‘We’re going to break his arms,’” Booker recounted one of his attackers saying.  “Then stated to the members of their party several times to ‘get a noose,’ amongst some other choice slurs.”

The onlookers managed to get the attackers to leave, and some white allies were able to stop the violent racist mob from following Booker and his friend.

Booker reportedly suffered a minor concussion, cuts, bruises, and had patches of his hair pulled out, according to reports.

He later wrote on Facebook: “We were calm and polite, but looking back now, it’s apparent that these individuals began targeting our group the moment they saw myself, a Black man, and were looking to provoke a conflict.”

Vauhxx Booker (GoFundMe)

None of the attackers were immediately arrested after the incident. 

“The officers stated they contacted the Prosecutor’s office who relayed there was no immediate need to arrest anyone, and that the officers would simply file a report,” Booker said on Facebook. “I’m gravely concerned that if any other people of color who were to cross their path they could be killed.”

The FBI ultimately opened a hate crime investigation into the attack, and Sean Purdy and Jerry Cox II were charged on July 17, 2020, with criminal confinement, battery, and intimidation, as reported by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Special prosecutor Sonia Leerkamp also charged Booker with felony battery and misdemeanor criminal trespass last week.

“It is unprecedented,” added attorney Katharine Liell, according to the Washington Post. “I’ve been practicing well over 30 years in this state and … I have never seen a special prosecutor open a new case and file charges a year later.”

Booker believes the charges are in retaliation for his refusal to sign a confidentiality agreement and participate in a pow-wow (mediation) with the racists who tried to kill him. 

“There’s nothing more American than charging a Black man in his own attempted lynching,” Booker said Monday, per the Post.

“For the entire year, the special prosecutor has pressured and bullied me at every turn that if I didn’t engage with the restorative justice, if I didn’t let charges be dismissed, that she would charge me,” Booker said, the Post reported. “It wasn’t out of any new evidence or any shocking revelations. It was simply that, once again, a Black person telling a White person no — and they were going to punish me.”

This story contains additional reporting from Christian Spencer.

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