A Black activist says he was attacked by a group of white people in “an attempted lynching” after accidentally walking through private property over the weekend.
The disturbing incident was captured in a series of videos that the victim, Vauhxx Booker, shared to Facebook on Sunday.
Booker, a human rights advocate and community organizer, is a member of the Monroe County Human Rights Commission.
In the footage, a Black man can be seen hunched over against a tree, surrounding by a group of white people. Some of the white men attempt to hit the camera from the hands of the recorder, who repeatedly ask them to let the Black man go.
“At one point during the attack, one of the men jumped on my neck,” Booker recounted in a lengthy Facebook post. “I could feel both his feet and his full bodyweight land hard against my neck.”
Describing the incident as a hate crime, Booker claims in his post that the men said: “We’re going to break his arms.” Another reportedly yelled: “Get a noose.” (Neither of these alleged remarks can be heard in the video recording.)
“With me still pinned underneath them, they kept telling onlookers to leave the ‘boy’ and that everyone else (all white) could go,” he wrote.
Booker says he and his friends gathered at an Indiana lake over the Fourth of July weekend to watch the lunar eclipse. He reportedly apologized to the men after he was told they were trespassing, and that was when the attack occurred.
I don’t want to recount this, but I was almost the victim of an attempted lynching. I don’t want this to have happened…
“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,” Booker continued in the post.
Following the violent encounter, Booker said he called 911. Captain Jet Quillen told CBS News that law enforcement officers responded and are investigating, but provided no further details about what happened or if any arrests were made.
A spokesperson for the FBI said the agency is aware of the incident and is monitoring the situation, per BuzzFeed News.
Brooker said he suffered a minor concussion, cuts, bruises and had patches of his hair pulled out.
Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton and Bloomington City Clerk Nicole Bolden released a statement on Monday regarding the incident of racial violence, expressing their “outrage and grief.”
A statement from Mayor John Hamilton and City Clerk Nicole Bolden speaks to the assault of a Black man at Lake Monroe on July 4, as well as another incident where former Bloomington South basketball star Dee Davis was questioned by police taking a walk in his own neighborhood. pic.twitter.com/b5mlYoprjq
— Jon Blau (@Jon_Blau) July 6, 2020
Bloomington Democrat and State Sen. Mark Stoops said in a statement he was “horrified by the racist attack,” calling on Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb to investigate the Department of Natural Resources officers who responded to the scene and made no arrests.
“This is clearly a hate crime and must be treated as such,” Stoops said.
On Tuesday, former Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg tweeted: “This violent show of racism is absolutely sickening. Something is deeply wrong in Indiana.”
A GoFundMe has been started to help raise money to cover Booker’s medical costs, lawyer fees, counselling and loss of work. So far, it’s raised more than US$5,600.
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