Two white men who were caught on video intimidating and threatening a Black man in Indiana with lynching have been charged in the incident.
According to NBC News, Sean Purdy, 44, and Jerry Edward Cox, 38 were charged with attacking Vaughxx Booker, 36, on July 4 while he walked through a public wooded area near Bloomington, Indiana.
Purdy was charged with criminal confinement, intimidation and battery resulting in moderate bodily injury. Cox was charged with aiding, inducing or causing criminal confinement and battery resulting in moderate bodily injury.
Booker, a member of the Monroe County, Indiana Human Rights Commission, said on his Facebook page that as he and a group of people walked in a public recreation area they were followed and accused of trespassing on private property.
He said that he tried to calm the situation down by speaking to the group, but they became violent and one "stated to the members of their party several times to, 'get a noose,' amongst some other choice slurs."
Most of the incident was captured in the nearly eight-minute video and the assailants can be clearly seen in it.
Purdy, told state investigators that Booker had punched him in the incident and said that Booker did not like his cowboy hat, which bore a confederate emblem on it. His lawyer, Mark Kamish, said in a statement that charges should have been filed against Booker.
“Indiana law allows citizens to make arrests of people punching other people on private property, and to use reasonable force in doing so. Indiana also has a broad self-defense statute,” Kamish said. "We would welcome a jury trial next week so the stigma of false and wrongful accusations can be exposed."
But Booker rejected the notion that Purdy and Cox were the victims in the situation.
"Even suggesting that a victim of a hate crime is a suspect is inexcusable, immoral, and more evidence that racism is systemic,” he said in a statement released through his attorney Katharine Liell. "This is yet another outrageous example of how Black people in America cannot get justice and are repeatedly re-victimized by the system."
A Black man from Bloomington, Indiana was cornered, assaulted and threatened with a noose on Saturday (July 4) by a group of white attackers as he walked through the woods.
He took to social media to share video of the incident, which he called an “attempted lynching.”
Vauhxx Booker, 36, a civil rights activist and member of the Monroe County, Indiana Human Rights Commission said on his Facebook page that as he and a group of people walked in a public recreation area they were followed by a white man who seemed drunk on an ATV who accused them of trespassing on private property.
Although Booker tried to calm the situation down by speaking to some of the assailants who seemed sober, the incident quickly turned violent as the men started shouting “white power” and one of them talked about getting a noose.
“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. It hurts my soul, and my pride, but there are multiple witnesses and it can’t be hidden or avoided,” said Booker, in a lengthy Facebook post describing what happened.
He said that several of the men followed his group, then grabbed him and pinned him to a tree, threatening to break his arms. The commotion attracted others who tried to intervene.
Most of the incident was captured in a nearly eight-minute video and the assailants can be clearly seen in it, although they were not identified.
Officers with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources investigated the incident Saurday evening, but made no arrests, according to the Indianapolis Star.
"We need to immediately concentrate on bringing these individuals to justice to send a message in our community that hate will not be tolerated," Booker told the newspaper.
DNR officials said that the investigation into the matter is continuing and that its agents are “working diligently with the Monroe County Prosecutor’s Office to ensure a lawful resolution,” according to a statement. “This matter remains under investigation and no further information will be released at this time.”
Meanwhile, Booker is continuing to contemplate what to do next.
"I’m not going to cry,” he said on his Facebook page. “I refused to die with these white men atop me while I struggled for every breath. I still refuse to be a hashtag or some racist’s victim. I do know that we as a community can stand against racism if we choose.”