Indiana Conservation Officers are conducting an investigation into an incident involving Vauhxx Rush Booker, a 36-year-old Black man, who says that he feared a group of white men were trying to lynch him, The Hill reports.
In a Facebook post, Booker said that he was headed to Lake Monroe to watch the lunar eclipse with a friend when he was approached by a Confederate flag hat-wearing white man who appeared to be drunk. Soon after, that same person followed Booker and his friend in an ATV, stating that they were on private property.
When their paths crossed again, Booker was told by the seemingly drunk white man and his friends that they needed to use the trail to head back to the campsite. They obliged, but as they were walking, Booker was jumped from behind by two men, and knocked to the ground. As he tried to defend himself, three more people arrived.
"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 recalled. He also said that at one point, one of the men jumped on his neck, applying all of his body weight.
The commotion brought about onlookers who pleaded with the five men to leave Booker alone, and record what they could of the altercation. Booker said he heard one of the men tell the crowd of people that "we're going to break his arms," as they were trying to bend his arms. Then, he heard one of them instruct another to "get a noose." The nearby bystanders were able to free Booker, but he continued to get followed by the group, who were hurling slurs and attacking anyone who was still filming them.
The Indiana Department of Natural Resources eventually responded to a call regarding the incident, but according to Booker, they immediately went to speak with the five white men. When they finally reached Booker, who was waiting for them at the campsite, the DNR were shown videos of the incident and given first-hand accounts of what they had just seen.
Despite the overwhelming proof from witnesses and Booker himself, no arrests were made. The officers claimed that they contacted the Monroe County Prosecutor’s Office and were only going to file a report.
Hundreds of local residents converged outside of the Monroe County Courthouse earlier tonight demanding justice. John Hamilton, Mayor of the nearby city of Bloomington, is asking that Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb launch an investigation. "These incidents affect us all, and I have reached out to the Governor, Prosecutor, and the victims in order to advocate for my residents who were victims of these great injustices," Hamilton said in a statement. "Although neither event occurred inside the city limits, under my jurisdiction, I will continue to call for and demand justice."