Bloomington mayor responds to news of ‘attempted lynching’ of man he knew

Video posted to social media early Sunday shows Vauhxx Booker, a Black man, pinned to a tree in what he calls an ‘attempted lynching’ at Lake Monroe right outside of Bloomington, Indiana. Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton says he's known Booker for 5 years and concedes that even in his relatively liberal city, home to Indiana University, racism persists within and around the community.

Video Transcript

- Let him go. Please, let him go. Please let him go.

- You go.

- We're going to as soon as you let him go.

- You go.

- I'm going to.

- You go, and we will let him go.


JOHN HAMILTON: I'm John Hamilton, the mayor of Bloomington, Indiana. Sunday night, I saw videos on social media that showed a member of my community, somebody I know, experiencing just horrific violence attacks, terrifying to watch, no doubt 100 times worse to be in, terrible racial epithets, conflict really angering me, also infuriating me.

I learned through the video and then subsequent activities that there had been a conflict not in my city, but near my city at a lake in a state controlled area of this kind of awful, racial hatred erupting.

- That's what you get.

JOHN HAMILTON: I do know Vauhxx Booker. I've been mayor for five years and I've probably known him for five years. And he's been a very active member of the community. I care a great deal and I want to help my residents have justice.

And of course, we want to stop this kind of thing from ever happening. It's a terrible reminder that racism-- we're a very progressive city, democratic city, progressive, liberal. We believe in inclusion.

But in our community, we know we have hate incidents every year. We know there is racism in our community and around our community. And we can't pretend that's not the case.

I don't know what would have happened in the woods alone around Lake Monroe if there hadn't been other individuals there, if there hadn't been a video taken. We pray that any terrible episode, horrific interaction like this, ends at least with as little violence as possible. There is obviously violence, but I don't know what would have happened.