Crime Watch 8

Prosecutor’s office actively reviewing Lake Monroe incident reports, evidence from DNR

BLOOMINTON, Ind. (WISH) — The Monroe County Prosecutor’s Office has received investigative reports and digital evidence from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources in connection to an incident at Lake Monroe on July 4.

A video of the incident, which shows Vauhxx Booker being held against a tree, has gone viral online.

Prosecuting attorney Erika Oliphant announced Wednesday the prosecutor’s office is actively reviewing the evidence in the case.

The details of the evidence have not been released. It’s also unclear if the prosecutor plans to file charges against anyone involved.

Booker said a group of people seen in the video threatened to lynch him. He and his attorney have called for a grand jury in the case.

This week an attorney for two people shown in the video says there’s another side to the story.

Vauhxx Booker and his attorney Katharine Leill released a joint statement Wednesday following the announcement that investigative reports and digital evidence from DNR had been handed over to the Monroe County Prosecutor’s Office. Booker and Leill said they are encouraged by the proceedings, but wish more would have been done earlier.

Full statement from attorney Katharine Leill and her client Vauhxx Booker:

We are encouraged that the DNR (Department of Natural Resources) has delivered their investigative file to the Monroe County Prosecutor’s office. The file contains information on their investigation into the July 4th attack and attempted lynching of Vauhxx Booker. Of course we would rather they had saved Mr. Booker and the Bloomington community these past two weeks of pain and suffering by having arrested those individuals responsible on the night of the assault.

We want to be confident that Monroe County Prosecutor Erika Oliphant will act swiftly and do the right thing by issuing arrest warrant for these individuals so that they can be held accountable by the legal system.

The unnecessarily drawn out investigation caused stress on Mr. Booker and the people and friends who came to his aide that evening.

We look forward to conclusions of the FBI investigation into this hate crime and encourage The United States Attorney General for the Southern District of Indiana to convene a grand jury into this incident.

Sadly racist fueled acts like the one Mr. Booker gratefully survived have ended more tragically in other places in our country. Bringing federal Hate Crime charges against these individuals, prosecuting them on the federal level will send a nationwide message that reoccurring acts of hatred and aggression against Black people across the country will not be tolerated and those who perpetrate them will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.

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