Jeremy Hogan/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
Vauhxx Booker, an activist in Bloomington, Indiana, says he was the victim of an "attempted lynching" on July 4.
Booker posted a video from the incident that shows a group of white people yelling and pinning him down on all fours near a tree.
He said while he's glad his story has garnered attention, he's sad he's been given recognition as a "victim" and not for his years of activism.
"Here it is where we have these white men that need to lynch me and who beat me and who you know, clearly intended to kill me," he told Insider. "It's hard for me to even say that, but that's the reality. You have an officer who has an oath to serve and protect lecturing me about property rights."
When Vauhxx Booker meets a new person he asks them, "What are your passions?"
For him, that answer is his activism. "Giving my power to the powerless. These things may sound cliche, but it's what I have spent most of my life doing .... My passion is for people," Booker told Insider.
A longtime civil rights activist and a member of the Monroe County Human Rights Commission, Booker also recently made headlines due to a racist attack, and he's saddened that he's known for this and not his years of activism.
"I feel like I've done a lot of work in my life, and I wish that I was receiving all this recognition for that, instead — I'm seeing, you know, myself victimized and videos of me being beaten across the nation," he said.
Over Fourth of July weekend, Booker posted several video clips to Facebook, in which a group of people can be seen yelling at him and pinning him up against a tree.
Booker was meeting up with friends at Lake Monroe in Bloomington, Indiana. On his way to the meeting area, he and a friend were followed by a white man who appeared drunk and donned a hat with a confederate flag on it who told him he was on private property. He left during this encounter, but he and his friends later encountered a group that claimed they were on their private property.
He wrote on Facebook that he was beaten by a group of white men, and said people called to break his arms and "get a noose."
"I don't want to recount this, but I was almost the victim of an attempted lynching," Booker wrote in the Facebook post. "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."
He told Insider that the only reason he didn't end up killed during the incident was due to a group of bystanders that decided to intervene.
'You have an officer who has an oath to serve and protect lecturing me about property rights'
After the incident, Booker called 911 and officers from the Department of Natural Resources responded. No arrests were made. Booker said he was horrified and shocked by the response from the DNR officers on the scene.
"You know, I had a conversation with the officer that I hadn't spoken about," he told Insider. "I told him that if five Black men had beat a white man, no matter if he was on private property or not, they would instantly be arrested. And quite frankly, with the way that we've seen, you know, police officers engage, they could have been killed before we even saw a trial."
He added: "Here it is where we have these white men that need to lynch me and who beat me and who, you know, clearly intended to kill me. It's hard for me to even say that, but that's the reality. You have an officer who has an oath to serve and protect lecturing me about property rights."
The DNR told the Indy Star that it will continue to investigate.
"The Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Law Enforcement Division is working diligently with the Monroe County Prosecutor's Office to ensure a lawful resolution," the agency told the Indy Star. "This matter remains under investigation and no further information will be released at this time."
The Associated Press also reported that the FBI will also be conducting an investigation.
"The FBI is investigating. We have no further comment," spokeswoman Chris Bavender told the AP.
'This has happened to me, but we can't allow it to happen again. I felt like every part of the system failed me.'
Jeremy Hogan/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
While the incident has left Booker with cuts, bruises, a minor concussion, and emotional trauma, he said he felt compelled to share his story.
"This shouldn't have ever happened to anyone, but it did happen to me. And the thing that might have made me different than anyone else that this would have happened with is that I already had a platform. I was already connected with community members and community leadership," Booker said. "I wanted to make sure that, okay, this has happened to me, but we can't allow it to happen again. I felt like every part of the system failed me."
Booker said while he "naively" felt safe in his community, and also to engage in dialogue with various people, he's now a bit more fearful for his own safety.
"If you would've asked me two weeks ago, if someone would lynch a black man outside of Bloomington, Indiana, in the year 2020, I would have thought it was laughable," he said. "Now I understand that this is a deep, real, present danger and everyone in society should be concerned."
Expanded Coverage Module: black-lives-matter
Read the original article on Insider