A student at Covington Catholic High School sent a letter Saturday to a local TV station that serves that part of Kentucky, Cincinnati-based WKRC-TV, begging the station to report the truth of an incident Friday in Washington, D.C., involving a Native American man and students from Covington Catholic.
The incident took place at the Lincoln Memorial as the students waited for buses to pick them up after participating in the annual March for Life that day. News reports claimed the students harassed a Native American man named Nathan Phillips–a Vietnam veteran–who was trying to perform a religious ceremony. The students and the school have been viciously attacked online with many threats being made to attack the school children.
As happens too often these days, the media got it wrong. Numerous videos show the students being approached by Phillips and a group of fellow Native American activists who were at the Lincoln Memorial for an Indigenous Peoples Rally that had ended earlier. Videos also show the students being harassed by a group of African-Americans who hurled racist and anti-gay insults at the students.
Three screen captures set the scene. The students are gathered by themselves at the Lincoln Memorial.
In front of them, at a short distance, is a group of African-American preachers.
The last screen image shows Nathan Phillips and his fellow activists approaching the students from the north side of the Lincoln Memorial steps on the other side of the preachers.
A later screen image shows how close Phillips was to the student as he wielded a metal drum stick in the student’s face.
The student’s letter in two parts:
The letter the student wrote to WKRC includes links to videos that back up his story.
— Adam Clements (@AClementsWKRC) January 20, 2019
A video posted to Facebook shows the beginning of the incident. The students are off by themselves doing school cheers when Phillips and his fellow Native American activists walk over to them, beating drums and chanting, and enter the students’ space.
This video shows the beginning of the confrontation by Phillips where he tests several students before selecting one boy wearing a MAGA hat to target for abuse. Phillips is moving freely about and steps up to the student as he bangs his drum in the boy’s face and loudly chants at him in a language the boy does not understand. Phillips does not attempt to speak to the boy. Phillips doesn’t ask him to move nor does he explain what he is doing.
Another video shows the during and after. At about 1:38 a Native American man tells one of the students, “white people go back to Europe. This is not your land.” The incident with Phillips does not even last three minutes. Toward the end, the boy who was targeted by Phillips turns to a fellow student to hush him after he heard him swear, gesturing him to chill because Phillips was still chanting.
This has been a shameful day for the media as well as for the Covington Diocese and school administrators who threw their students under the bus without any attempt to learn the truth. The Diocese and school issued an apology that condemned their students and threatened them with expulsion before the facts were in.
Hopefully someone will hear the plea of the student for the truth to be reported.