Vaughxx Booker, the African-American Bloomington, Indiana man who was attacked and threatened with lynching by a group of white people July 4 is lashing out at law enforcement for not doing more to address what happened to him.
"They left a clear and present danger loose in our community," Booker, 36, told the Indianapolis Star. "I don't have a doubt that if it would have been five Black men who had attacked a white man, they would have been in jail that night."
Booker, 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.
He said that several of the men followed his group, then grabbed 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 on 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 Saturday evening, but have made no arrests.
Booker told the Star that he along with several witnesses to the incident spoke to DNR officers, but an official kept talking about the rights of a property owner. The people who had followed him kept complaining that his group was trespassing on private property, which can be seen on the video.
“This officer was clearly elevating property rights above my life,” Booker said. “That's something we're seeing on a macro level throughout society where Black lives aren’t as important as property.”
Officials with the DNR and Indiana Conservation say they are continuing to investigate the incident. Prosecutors say they are monitoring what happens next.
"We anticipate receiving the case soon," Monroe County First Deputy Prosecutor Jeff Kehr told the Star. "As soon as that happens, we will thoroughly review all of it and determine what charges are appropriate."
Meanwhile, Booker said that he attended a demonstration over the incident in Bloomington on Monday (July 6), that he said was peaceful, but was marred when a car hit two people as it ended, the Star reported. Both people were hospitalized and the driver has not been caught.
"It was a moving, peaceful event with lots of community engagement and positivity," Booker said. "To see someone try to tarnish that or to destroy that with violence, it's just hate begetting more hate."
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