The Federal Bureau of Investigation has opened a probe into the alleged attempted lynching of a black man in Indiana.
Vauhxx Booker, a Bloomington civil rights activist and local official, detailed the Fourth of July attack on Facebook, supported with video taken by the bystanders who were able to separate him from five men who were pinning him down.
Protests broke out Monday after local officials declined to immediately press charges, during which a car rammed into the group and drove away with a woman hanging on the hood.
Booker’s attorney told a reporter that the FBI had opened an investigation into his alleged attack, as a possible hate crime.
“I was attacked by five white men (with confederate flags) who literally threatened to lynch me in front of numerous witnesses,” Booker wrote in his Facebook account. “At one point during the attack one of the men jumped on my neck. I could feel both his feet and his full body weight land hard against my neck.”
The announcement came after other officials also called for action and condemned the racist incident.
In a statement, Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton and Bloomington City Clerk Nicole Bolden expressed “outrage and grief” at the attack and a separate alleged incident of apparent racial profiling involving a police officer and a pedestrian.
“A group of individuals physically assaulted and denounced and threatened with racial epithets one Black resident of Bloomington on nearby Indiana state park land at Lake Monroe,” they said. “These separate incidents exemplify the persistence of racism and bias in our country and our own community. They deserve nothing less than our collective condemnation. They require that we come together as a whole, and recognize that racism damages all of us, not just our residents of color. We deserve better, and we must make it happen.
State sen. Mark Stoops, a Bloomington Democrat, said he was “horrified by the racist attack,” reported the Associated Press. He called on Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb to suspend and investigate the Department of Natural Resources officers who responded to the scene for failing to make any arrests.
“This is not just an issue of violence,” Stoops said Monday. “This is clearly a hate crime and must be treated as such.”
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