By Aaliyah Williams

The FBI investigated a racial incident that occurred during the weekend of July 4th at Lake Monroe, Indiana. Vauhxx Booker, a black man, was pinned against a tree by a white men group as his friends watched in horror. The group had been on their way to a park to watch the lunar eclipse. While Booker and his friends were on their way to the park, Booker stated they had met a man in a Confederate hat who warned them not to walk on private property. Booker apologized and followed them as they tried to leave the party of people.

Katheryn Liell

When videos of the encounter circulated online, it attracted outrage from the officials and on Monday night prompted protesters to gather and protest in the area. Part of the altercation was filmed on a camera and posted by Booker. The video shows a man holding Booker against a tree while the others surrounded him. You can hear the bystanders in the video shouting for them to let him go.

“I was attacked by five white men,” Booker said, “who literally threatened to lynch me in front of numerous witnesses.” He had heard the men shout “get a noose” and had used racial slurs while doing so.

Booker said spectators eventually stopped being bystanders and stopped the men. They called the authorities as soon as he and his friends left. 

Booker said he had a mild concussion, some abrasions, bruises, and hair loss from being pulled out. He also noted that the worst scars are those which can not be seen. 

“We want this investigated as a hate crime, it was obviously racially motivated,” Katharine Liell, Booker’s lawyer said. “We support this inquiry and feel like we are one step closer to justice,” she added on Facebook. 

Booker adds that there was a crowd of supporters at the news conference with signs reading “Black Lives Matter.” 

“We’re not a culture where you can street lynch anybody,” Booker said. “We are a supportive or inclusive community, and we will see to it that justice is served.” 

In a statement, Bloomington’s Mayor John Hamilton and the town clerk, Nicole Bolden, condemned the altercation, saying that a mob “physically assaulted and denounced and threatened with racial epithets one Black resident of Bloomington.”

State Senator Mark Stoops, whose district covers much of Monroe’s county, said that he was also “horrified to hear about this racist attack.” 

“This is not just an issue of violence; this is clearly a hate crime and must be treated as such,” he said.

The senator said officers with the Natural Resources Department had evidence that a crime was committed and that they would take “immediate disciplinary measures.” He called for Gov. Eric Holcomb to fire the officers involved immediately.