A video of a black man pinned to a tree in an alleged “attempted lynching” has sparked a public outcry after the disturbing footage was shared on social media.
In the distressing video, recorded on July 4 in Bloomington, Indiana, Vauhxx Booker appears to be held up against a tree while on his knees.
People shout and argue for him to be released, but a group of white people stand in the way.
“Please, let him go,” someone says.
“You go,” says one of the white men.
“We’re going as soon as you let him go,” the other person replies.
“You go and we’ll let him go,” says a white woman in a blue dress.
A shirtless man then gets up in front of the person recording and angrily shouts at him, then appears to punch him in the face as the camera falls to the ground and the clip ends.
Mr Booker said he was almost the victim of an “attempted lynching” and was badly beaten and suffered a concussion after sharing the video to Facebook, which has since been seen more than 5.6 million times.
He wrote: “On July 4th evening others and me were victims of what I would describe as a hate crime.
“I was attacked by five white men with (Confederate flags) who literally threatened to lynch me in front of numerous witnesses.”
The video shows Mr Booker being pinned to the tree but does not show any attack.
In the Facebook post, he also claimed there were shouts of “get a noose” and “white power”, but those were not caught on camera.
The alleged victim said he and his friends were heading to a lake to watch the lunar eclipse when they were approached by rowdy drunk white men who accused them of trespassing.
There had been no arrests as of Monday afternoon, Yahoo News reports.
A crowdfunding page has since been set up for Booker’s medical fees and his pals say they will be helping him fight for justice.
Addressing the clip, Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton said he has personally known Booker and was horrified by what he witnessed.
He said: “Sunday night I saw videos on social media that showed a member of my community, somebody I know, experiencing just horrific violent attacks.”
Police from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources said they were investigating the incident.
“Additional investigation and interviews are underway,” a spokesperson said on Monday.
“The Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Law Enforcement Division is working diligently with the Monroe County Prosecutor’s Office to ensure a lawful resolution.
“This matter remains under investigation and no further information will be released at this time.”