An African-American man from Indiana claims he survived an attempted lynching following a run-in with a group of white people on Saturday, July 4. In a post on Facebook, civil rights activist Vauhxx Booker said he and a group of friends were visiting a public beach at Lake Monroe when he ran into a group of white people wearing apparel with confederate flags, who accused them of trespassing on private property.
"I don't want to recount this, but I was almost the victim of an attempted lynching," Booker posted on Facebook, along with videos of the attack. "I don't want this to have happened to me or anyone. It hurts my soul, and my pride, but there are multiple witnesses and it can't be hidden or avoided."
'Get a Noose'
Booker said the group continued to follow them until two of them jumped on him from behind before three more joined in the attack.
"The five were able to easily overwhelm me and got me to the ground and dragged me pinning my body against a tree as they began pounding on my head and ripped off some of my hair, with several of them still on top of my body holding me down," he recalled.
He said they continued to beat him for several minutes, and at one point one of them jumped on his neck with both feet while he was on the ground.
"The attackers told the growing group 'we're going to break his arms' (while literally attempting to bend my arms behind me)," Booker wrote, claiming that one of them shouted, "get a noose." He said he was released after several white strangers intervened and the group realized they were being recorded.
The clips show Booker and his friends being followed around by a group of shirtless white men, carrying beer cans, singling Booker out and shouting racist abuse at him. One of the men, who appears to be inebriated repeatedly refers to him as a "nappy headed bitch...with your five friends" while branding the group as "liberal f--ks." Watch the video footage below:
Police Refuse to Make an Arrest
Booker claimed that he called 911 after the incident and asked to get in touch with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. When DNR officers arrived at the scene, they spoke to the alleged assailants first, before relaying to the Prosecutor's office that there was "no immediate need to arrest anyone," and that the officers would simply "file a report."
After public outrage over the attack, an investigation into the incident has been initiated by the Monroe County Prosecutor's Office, according to Booker's attorney, Katherine Liell, who according to her experience, believes arrests warrants will be issued for the assailants.
"I'm looking forward to the prosecutor issuing arrest warrants for these assailants today and I want the DNR to act and discipline the officers involved," Booker told The Bloomingtonian. "They refused to make an arrest."
Three of the individuals involved in the incident have been identified as Ian James Cherco, Jerry Cox, and Sean Purdy, all of which work at Matthew Masonry and Restoration.
Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton and City Clerk Nicole Bolden issued a lengthy joint statement about the incident Monday on Facebook.
"On behalf of the City of Bloomington, we would like to express outrage and grief relating to two apparent racially motivated incidents reported in our community over the July 4 weekend. A group of individuals physically assaulted and denounced and threatened with racial epithets one Black resident of Bloomington on nearby Indiana state park land at Lake Monroe," they wrote.