'MAGA hat' students cleared in investigation over confrontation with Native American man

Greater Cincinnati Investigation (GCI) was retained by the Diocese of Covington to prepare the report

Laura Brickman
Wednesday 13 February 2019 23:42 GMT
Nathan Phillips wants MAGA hat student to apologise

An investigation of the viral stand-off between Covington Catholic Students and an elderly Native American man was released Monday, which the Bishop of Covington says ‘exonerates’ the boys involved of any wrongdoing.

Videos of the incident sparked massive controversy last month and seemingly show student Nick Sandmann wearing a Make America Great Again hat and smirking at Nathan Philips, a Native American veteran playing a traditional drum.

While the The Diocese of Covington and Covington Catholic High School, who sponsored the January 19 class trip to DC, initially joined widespread condemnation of the students’ actions, the community has since rallied behind the boys involved.

Roger Foys, The Bishop of Covington, wrote in a letter on his website, “Our students were placed in a situation that was at once bizarre and even threatening. Their reaction to the situation was, given the circumstances, expected and one might even say laudatory.”

Prepared by Greater Cincinnati Investigation, Inc. at the behest of the diocese, the report includes statements from students and chaperones, interviews with third-party witnesses, and review of footage of the encounter over approximately 240 hours.

The report states there was no evidence that the students chanted ‘build a wall’ and that they rather some of the students asked chaperones if they could perform a school cheer to drown out offensive remarks from a nearby group of Black Israelites.

Additionally the report notes remarkable consistency between statements obtained from chaperones and students, and states that Sandmann, by his own account, was concerned ‘things were getting out of control’ and was attempting to diffuse the situation.

Covington’s Bishop expressed his pleasure with the reports conclusions, writing, “...my hope and expectation expressed in my letter to you of 25 January that the results of our inquiry ... would ‘exonerate our students so that they can move forward with their lives’ has been realized.”

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