An Indiana man claims he survived an attempted lynching during a brutal attack while camping.
Civil rights activist Vauhxx Booker called 911 for help after the July 4 assault, some of which was caught on video, but said state officials reportedly refused to arrest his alleged assailants, reported the Bloomingtonian.
“I don’t want to recount this, but I was almost the victim of an attempted lynching,” Booker posted on Facebook, along with video 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.”
Booker said he and others planned to watch the lunar eclipse near the Cutright Recreation Area when he and a friend encountered an apparently drunk white man wearing an oversized Confederate flag hat, who then followed them on an all-terrain vehicle and said they were on private property.
“We relayed to him that we believed the organizers had received permission from the property owners to cross, but apologized and went on to our beautiful site just off the water without any further incident,” Booker said. “When we arrived we told the event organizer of the encounter and it was relayed that the individual wasn’t the actual property owner and the organizer apologized.”
Booker said he told the others to avoid that area on their way to the site, but he said the man and his group blocked off the public beach with a boat and ATVs and claimed to own the land.
“When folks tried to crossed they yelled, ‘white power’ at them,” Booker wrote. “Honestly, we thought it might just be the one drunken individual with the [C]onfederate hat we had encountered earlier who might be instigating the conflict. We decided to just walk back and attempt to simply have a conversation with some of the more sober seeming group members and see if we could smooth things over a bit.”
In the video, the white man accuses Booker of starting the altercation.
But Booker said he and his friends tried to leave after the group members became aggressive, and two of them attacked him from behind — and then others joined in after he was knocked to the ground.
“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,” Booker wrote. “They held me pinned and continued beating me for several minutes seemingly become more and more enraged as they kept trying to seriously injure me and failing. At one point during the attack one of the men jumped on my neck. I could feel both his feet and his full bodyweight land hard against my neck.”
One of the men’s teenage daughter started screaming for them to let Booker go, but he said the men pinned his arms backward in a stated attempt to break them.
“Get a noose,” one of the men said, according to Booker, and they allegedly used racial slurs throughout the attack.
Some of the witnesses attracted by the girl’s screams filmed the attack, and one witness later told Booker all of their lives were endangered.
The men eventually let Booker go, and he and his friends packed up their campsite and left in fear for their safety.
Booker said he suffered minor concussion, abrasions and bruising, and he had some hair ripped out in patches.
He said the Indiana Department of Natural Resources refused to make any arrests after the incident, but the agency said the incident remains under investigation.
A driver intentionally struck two protesters Monday evening during a demonstration in Bloomington calling for charges against the assailants and possible discipline against the officers who responded to the attack.