DNR report exonerates Booker
The DNR report concerning the July 4 racist attack on Vauhxx Booker clearly shows that Booker, a Black man, did not commit Battery against Sean Purdy and Jerry Cox, nor Criminal Trespass against Caroline and Bruce McCord. Yet the report inexplicably finds those to be “potential crimes” committed by Booker. (Page 1, Exhibit A Booker DNR Ex A 080720. Page 5, Exhibit B Booker DNR Ex B 080720. See Note below concerning references.)
The criminal trespass allegation has no basis in fact because Booker was on Army Corps of Engineers property when he was attacked, not on McCord property. (Page 66, Exhibit C Booker DNR Ex C 080720.) The DNR estimated the confrontation took place 168 feet east of the McCord boundary. (Page 67, Exhibit D Booker DNR Ex D 080720.) When Caroline McCord asked Booker to leave her family’s property because he had threatened her with a fine (page 29, Exhibit E Booker DNR Ex E 080720) they were on public land.
(Booker is a member of the Monroe County Human Rights Commission.
https://www.co.monroe.in.us/department/board.php?structureid=45.) Criminal Trespass requires an order to leave private property. It was not criminal trespass for Booker to fail to leave public land when McCord asked him to leave.
As to the potential charge of Battery, the report shows that Booker acted in self-defense. Booker was in the area to attend a party. To get there he crossed McCord property, understanding he had permission to do so. (Page 46, Exhibit F Booker DNR Ex F 080720.) The owner’s daughter, Caroline McCord was hosting her own July 4 camp out and party on and near their land. (Page 7, Exhibit G Booker DNR Ex G 080720.) Her boyfriend, Sean Purdy was present, as was Purdy’s friend, Jerry “Bubba” Cox.
(Page 29, Exhibit E Booker DNR Ex E 080720.)
Purdy encountered Booker, told him that he was on private property, and escorted him to the party Booker was seeking, on nearby public land. Booker later returned to the area where Purdy was partying and talked with McCord. The conversation became heated. According to Purdy, he stepped between them, pushed Booker, and Booker punched him. (Page 9, Exhibit H Booker DNR Ex H 080720.) Purdy assaulted Booker. Booker defended himself. Booker did not commit Battery when defending himself against an assailant.
According to Cox, he was the only one from his group that jumped into the fight. (Page 33, Exhibit I Booker DNR Ex I 080720.) When he did, Booker punched him. Purdy attacked Booker. Cox jumped into the fight. Booker punched Cox. Booker acted in self-defense when a second assailant joined in the attack against him.
Remember, these are the DNR accounts of what Purdy and Cox said. They are White men. (Page 2, Exhibit J Booker DNR Ex J 080720.) They had been drinking heavily. (Page 10, Exhibit K Booker DNR Ex K 080720, and Page 33, Exhibit I Booker DNR Ex I 080720.) Purdy wore a Confederate Flag cowboy hat. (Page 9, Exhibit H Booker DNR Ex H 080720.) Cox called Booker a “nappy-headed bitch”. (Page 33, Exhibit I Booker DNR Ex I 080720.) Booker heard the assailant group talking about a rope and noose. (Page 7, Exhibit G Booker DNR Ex G 080720.) Booker was in fear for his life. He was clearly the victim of a hate crime. Yet the DNR concluded that Booker committed “potential crimes”. He didn’t commit Criminal Trespass because he was on public land. He didn’t commit Battery because he was defending himself from racist aggressors.
Perhaps it is understandable that the initial investigation on July 4 might have accepted that the confrontation took place on private property, as Purdy claimed. Perhaps, arriving by boat, in the dark, and seeing activity on the beach, the investigation started by interviewing the intoxicated assailants, not the complaining witness, and hearing that it was “no big deal”. (Page 54, Exhibit L Booker DNR Ex L 080720.) But when the lead investigator updated the report on July
14, 10 days later, and it was approved by his apparent superior officer, there is no excuse for so badly misinterpreting the information contained in that report. The DNR conclusion that Booker committed “potential crimes” reeks of racism and a Good Old Boy mentality.
Note: The DNR report is available on the B Square Beacon website, which is greatly appreciated.
https://bsquarebeacon.com/wp–content/uploads/2020/07/Monroe–Reservoir–Incident–REDACTED.pdf. Page numbers are for that site. Exhibits show those pages, with underlining by Guy Loftman. The DNR report starts with a new page 1 after its page 47.
Guy Loftman is a retired attorney, Chair of the Monroe County NAACP Legal Redress Committee, and a member of the Racial Justice Task Force of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Bloomington.