Attorneys of Sean Purdy and Caroline McCord, two people involved in the alleged attack on Vauhxx Booker on the Fourth of July at Lake Monroe, spoke to the press Monday, claiming Booker is telling a false narrative and the videos do not show the full story.
“It’s deplorable that any person would be targeted because of their race,” attorney David Hennessy said at the press conference. “It is equally deplorable that someone would use their race to provoke and arouse public passion over a false accusation.”
Booker said he was attacked on the evening of the Fourth of July by people who previously were shouting “white power” and had Confederate flags. He said his attackers mentioned getting a noose and restrained him against a tree. He sustained a minor concussion, abrasions, bruising and had chunks of his hair pulled out.
The Criminal Defense Team of Baldwin, Perry and Kamish is representing Purdy and McCord, who are dating. It is unclear whether the law firm is also representing others in the party that detained Booker.
Hennessy said on the evening that the encounter happened, Purdy and McCord’s group told Booker and his friends that they were on private property owned by the McCords. Purdy allegedly showed them the property line and gave Booker and a friend a ride in his ATV to show them how to get to the gathering they were going to. Hennessy said Booker gave Purdy a beer out of his 12-pack before going on to the gathering.
In Booker’s Facebook post, he said a man in a hat with Confederate flag print on it followed him and a friend on his ATV as they were walking to a site of a lunar eclipse viewing event they were attending. Booker said in the post that the man said they were on private property and Booker and his friend apologized and continued on to the site.
Booker said in his post they advised some of the other people coming to the event to get to the site from the beach to avoid any trouble but they later found out that people were blocking the beach, claiming it was their property too and yelling “white power.” This is when Booker went to talk to the people with a friend to “smooth things over” and after talking to them, was jumped from behind as he walked back to the site, according to Booker’s post.
Hennessy told a different story. He said Booker came back hours later after he had first met Purdy and said he was a county commissioner and he was going to fine Purdy and McCord’s group and “ruin their lives,” then got in McCord’s face before Purdy got between them.
Hennessy said Booker then punched Purdy three times. There is photo evidence of bruising on Purdy’s chin, Hennessy said. He said Booker was then restrained against a tree, like videos show. He said this is legal if someone punches you on your own property. Hennessy denied Booker’s claims that he was beaten, saying he was only detained.
“He was the instigator and the agitator,” Hennessy said. “There were no problems of getting along.”
When a reporter asked what led up to Booker allegedly confronting and punching Purdy, Hennessy said it was unclear what led up to Booker coming back to talk to McCord and Purdy.
Hennessy said Purdy and McCord did not say any of the racist slurs that were caught on video and they did not say or hear anyone say anything about a noose. He said they condemn the language their friends used.
Hennessy also said both his clients have been interviewed by investigators, have met with the FBI and done a polygraph test that showed no deception on the answers given.
“We challenge Mr. Booker to submit to a polygraph,” Hennessy said. “We’ll pay for it so he won’t have to use any of his GoFundMe money.”
Hennessy said it was time that the other side of the story was reported and the press conference was happening for this purpose. Purdy and McCord have not spoken to the press and did not speak directly to the press at the conference. They did stand behind their attorney throughout the press conference.
Booker and his attorney Katharine Liell put out a press release in response to the press conference.
“Mr. Booker did not instigate this encounter; he did not provoke anyone to hold him against his will,” the release said. “He did not yell or shout or lose his temper. He doesn’t need to take a polygraph test.”
The release repeated Booker’s claim that he was a victim of an attempted lynching and that he was violently attacked because of his race.