An independent investigation confirmed Wednesday that a group of Covington Catholic teens told the truth about their now-viral confrontation with a Native American man in January in Washington, D.C.
The report by Greater Cincinnati Investigation, Inc. states that the pro-life teens did not initiate the confrontation or use any racial slurs against Native American Nathan Phillips or the Black Hebrew Israelites group, Townhall reports.
“We found no evidence of offensive or racist statements by students to Mr. Phillips or members of his group,” the report states. “We found no evidence that the students performed a ‘Build the Wall’ chant.”
The investigators said they reviewed more than 50 hours of media, including video footage of the event and news reports, and spoke with dozens of people involved. They concluded that the students’ statements about the event were “remarkably consistent,” while Phillips’ were “inconsistent.”
The smears against the Covington Catholic High School students began after a heavily edited video surfaced of them face to face with Phillips after the March for Life in January. Longer footage of the incident later disproved many of the claims against the pro-life Kentucky students. However, the students and their families received death threats because of the accusations, and their school was forced to close several days because of security concerns.
Lawyers for student Nick Sandmann, who was singled out in the controversy, said they may sue more than 50 entities for defamation, including Phillips. Lawyer L. Lin Wood said Phillips told “lies and false accusations” about Sandmann and other students after the Jan. 18 incident.
Phillips did not participate in the independent investigation. According to Townhall, he lied about the students chanting “Build the wall!” and his Vietnam service.
“We have attempted to reach out to Mr. Phillips by phone and by e-mail, informing him that we desired to interview him in person and that we were prepared to meet him in Michigan or any location he might prefer,” the investigators wrote. “We also sent Mr. Phillips’ daughter an e-mail as they both appear to be involved in the Native Youth Alliance and have shared their e-mail addresses after the event to thank everyone for reaching out and supporting them.”
They said Phillips never responded.
“Mr. Phillip’s public interviews contain some inconsistencies, and we have not been able to resolve them or verify his comments due to our inability to contact him,” the investigators continued.
They said it was the Black Hebrew Israelite group that yelled racial slurs against the boys as well as Native Americans.
“We see no evidence that students responded with any offensive or racist statements of their own,” the investigators noted. “Some students stated that one of the chaperons reminded the students that, if they engaged in a verbal exchange with the Black Israelites, they would receive detention when returning to school.”
Some abortion activists also accused the pro-life students of making an offensive rape comment, but the investigators said the individual who made the statement on one of the videos was not a student at Covington Catholic.
The investigators also noted that Sandmann’s public statements appear to be accurate base on their other findings.
The student’s legal team said they are in the process of sending letters demanding that the entities retract their statements against the students. A list of the 52 entities can be found here.
“There was a rush by the media to believe what it wanted to believe versus what actually happened,” lawyer Todd McMurty, co-counsel for Sandmann, said previously.
For example, McMurtry told The Cincinnati Enquirer that Sandmann was accused of getting into the face of Phillips, but the full footage of the incident disproved this claim.
Despite the new evidence, left-wing activist Kathy Griffin and others have been adamant in their criticism of the teens and the teens only. There has been little condemnation of the Black Hebrew Israelite adults who shouted profanities and racial slurs at the teens and Native Americas, or of the Native American man who claimed the students got in his face when video evidence indicates that he approached them, according to Reason.
In a statement, Sandmann said he was confused by the whole incident and he smiled only to let the other protesters know that he would not be intimidated.
“I am a faithful Christian and practicing Catholic, and I always try to live up to the ideals my faith teaches me – to remain respectful of others, and to take no action that would lead to conflict or violence,” he said.