Authorities are investigating after a Black man says he was the “victim of an attempted lynching” over Fourth of July weekend in Indiana, according to KTLA sister station WXIN in Indianapolis.
The Indiana Department of Natural Resources confirmed a confrontation between two groups in a wooded area in Monroe County. It was caught on camera by several groups, and a Facebook post about the incident has gone viral.
In one video, you can see a white man pinning a Black man against a tree while people yell to let him go.
Vauhxx Rush Booker, who said he was the victim, wrote in a Facebook post that it started when he and a group of friends were headed to watch the lunar eclipse Saturday at Lake Monroe, south of Booker’s hometown of Bloomington. Booker is a local civil rights activist and member of the Monroe County Human Rights Commission.
He wrote that the people in the video threatened him with a noose and said some other “choice slurs.”
“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 to me or anyone,” Booker said in the post. “It hurts my soul, and my pride, but there are multiple witnesses and it can’t be hidden or avoided.”
Booker said he felt the incident was a hate crime. By Monday afternoon, his post had been shared more than 145,000 times.
Katharine Liell, the attorney representing Booker, said the case is under active review and believes arrests will be made. She said she appreciates those who are supporting him and praying for him and “an end to the racial hatred that is rampant here right now.”
Officers with the Department of Natural Resources responded to the scene of the alleged assault on Saturday, the Indianapolis Star reported.
In a statement, the Monroe County Prosecutor’s Office said it met with state conservation officers Monday morning, and the Department of Natural Resources is “actively investigating.
“Once we have received the investigative reports, witness statements and digital evidence, we will thoroughly review all of it and make a charging decision,” the prosecutor’s office wrote.
Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton and Bloomington City Clerk Nicole Bolden issued a statement on the reported assault as well as a second racially motivated incident from the weekend. The latter incident involved a Black resident “walking down the Bloomington street where they live in an apparent example of racial profiling,” the statement said.
“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,” the statement continued. “These separate incidents exemplify the persistence of racism and bias in our country and our own community. They deserve nothing less than our collective condemnation. They require that we come together as a whole, and recognize that racism damages all of us, not just our residents of color. We deserve better, and we must make it happen.”