INDIANAPOLIS — EDITOR'S NOTE: The above video is from a Sept. 11, 2021, report about a collaborative attempt at restorative justice in this case.
A judge has rescinded the appointment of a public defender for a Black activist who alleges he was assaulted by a group of white men who threatened to lynch him.
Johnson Superior Court Judge Lance Hamner initially granted Vauhxx Booker's request for a public defender earlier this month. But, Hamner reversed it days later when he got notice of money raised for Booker through a GoFundMe account.
Booker will now have to either hire a lawyer or represent himself.
A friend of Booker's established the GoFundMe campaign to raise money for medical costs, attorney fees, counseling and lost work time. The fund had approximately $36,000 in it as of Sunday.
Booker was initially charged with battery resulting in moderate bodily injury and criminal trespass for an incident that happened last summer at Lake Monroe.
Booker, a civil rights activist and member of the Monroe County Human Rights Commission, claims he was the victim of a racially motivated attack when he was held against a tree by Sean Purdy at Lake Monroe on July 4, 2020. Much of the incident was caught on cellphone video. Booker said someone threatened to “get a noose” during the incident. That statement is never heard on any of the videos made public.
According to court documents, Booker ended up with a mild concussion and bald spots on his scalp, along with a scratch on his cheek and an abrasion on his knee.
Sean Purdy and Jerry Cox II were previously charged in the alleged assault on Booker.
The attorneys for Purdy and his girlfriend said Booker was the instigator and threatened to use his position in the community to ruin their clients. The attorneys said Booker got into the face of Purdy's girlfriend and when Purdy intervened, Booker hit him three times.
Booker was later charged in another case with battery against an IMPD officer after a separate incident at an Indianapolis bar on Sept. 5, 2021. Court records show Booker is represented by a court-appointed Indianapolis attorney to defend him in that Marion County case.