- A two hour video shows a small group of Black Hebrew Israelites taunting the students and everyone else in the area
- The video shows Native American elder Nathan Phillips approaching the teens while playing his drum
- Phillips claims to have believed the students were getting ready to attack the small group of black men
In the days following the viral videos of Covington Catholic High School students facing off with Native American elder Nathan Phillips, more information has surfaced after a two-hour video began being shared on social media showing a small group of four Black Hebrew Israelites at the center of the incident that has gained international attention.
The students had come to Washington DC for the March for Life while Phillips was attending the Indigenous Peoples Day March. It is still not clear if the Israelites had participated in any events that day. The group is generally attracted to large crowds to practice their street preaching of hateful rhetoric to the masses. The Israelites fundamentally believe the white man is the devil and that they are the only true people of God. They spend the majority of their days screaming how evil everyone is as they wait for black Jesus to come back and destroy all the “mud people.”
These Israelite extremists have a long and strange list of enemies of the group. White people are at the top of that list. According to the Black Hebrew Israelites, white people descended from a “race of red, hairy beings, known as Edomites, who were spawned by Esau, the twin brother of Jacob (later known as Israel) in the Old Testament.”
Slightly hated, if not equally, are “fraudulent” Jews, “the synagogue of Satan.” Under the Jews, Israelites also hate continental Africans, accusing them of selling the lost black tribes of Israel to European slave traders. Gay people are high up on the list as the Black Hebrew Israelites believe they should be put to death. The group also hates Asians, promiscuous black women and abortionists. Confrontations between people and the extremist street preachers have grown increasingly more hostile since the early 2000s.
The two-hour video of the incident appears to have been uploaded by someone with the Israelites. The group is yelling at anybody that will listen for roughly 112:00 before Phillips is seen walking up to the students playing his drum with a small group. The Israelites start backing Phillips. Years back the group began including West Indians, Latin Americans, and American Indians as brother “Hebrews.”
Before Phillips came into the situation, the Israelites and students had been exchanging words. The group can be calling the students “god damn dogs” as the students chant back at the group. Nick Sandmann, the student that went viral for standing in Phillips’ face claimed they asked a teacher who was acting as a chaperone if they could do school chants at the Black Hebrew Israelites. For some reason, the students claim this teacher gave them permission instead of trying to deescalate the situation.
It was shortly after this point that Phillips believed the students were going to attack the small group. Phillips said the situation at the Lincoln Monument grounds was escalating due to the students being offended at the Israelites use of their Freedom of Speech. Phillips describes it as an “ugly situation” and that “I found myself in the middle of it.” However, video shows that Phillips walked into the situation and tried to put himself between the two groups, which he now admits.
There was a disturbance there on the Lincoln Monument grounds. We were finishing up with Indigenous Peoples March and rally and there were some folks there that were expressing their (First Amendment) rights there, freedom of speech. … Then there was this young group of young students that came there and were offended by their speech, and it escalated into an ugly situation that I found myself in the middle of. Yeah, I found myself in the middle of it, sort of woke up to it.
Yes, that’s the impression that everybody has, and I guess that’s what I was doing. I didn’t realize that’s what I was doing. When I started taking those steps and using the drum, it was just spur of the moment. I don’t like to say it that way, but it was just, “What do you do? What do you do now?” Here’s a moment where something that’s really ugly in our society, in America, something that’s just come to a boiling point, as they say. Does that make sense?
It is unclear if Phillips knew about the small group of Black Hebrew Israelites or had been listening to what they were saying. Unfortunately, Phillips is correct that the group is practicing their freedom of speech, just like the Westboro Baptist Church and white supremacist groups around the country. On the flip side, it is also freedom of speech to respond as you wish as long as it is not in a physical manner, meaning the students had every right to do their school chant at the Israelites.
Oh, what I was witnessing was just hate? Racism? Well, hate. What I’m saying is that when these folks came there, these other folks were saying their piece, and these others they got offended with it because they were both just expressing their own views. And if it’s racism, that’s what it was because the folks that were having their moment there, they were saying things that I don’t know if I agreed with them or not, but some of it was educational, and it was truth, and it was history about religious views and ideologies, but these other folks, the young students, they couldn’t see it. They had one point of view, it seemed, and that was that their point of view was the only point of view that was worthwhile. And that’s now what I was feeling.
Days after the incident, Sandmann released a lengthy statement on the incident telling his side of the story.
I am providing this factual account of what happened on Friday afternoon at the Lincoln Memorial to correct misinformation and outright lies being spread about my family and me.
I am the student in the video who was confronted by the Native American protesor I arrived at the Lincoln Memorial at 4:30 p.m. I was told to be there by 0:30 p.m., when our busses were due to leave Washington for the trip back to Kentucky. We had been attending the March for Life rally, and then had split up into small groups to do a sightseeing.
When we arrived, we noticed four African American protestors who were also on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. I am not sure what they were protesting, and I did not interact with them. I did hear them direct derogatory insults at our school group.
The protestors said hateful things. They called us “racists,” “bigots,” “white crackers,” “faggots,” and “incest kids.” They also taunted an African American student from my school by telling him that we would “harvest his organs.” I have no idea what that insult means, but it was startling to hear.
Because we were being loudly attacked and taunted in public, a student in our group asked one of our teacher chaperones for permission to begin our school spirit chants to counter the hateful things that were being shouted at our group. The chants are commonly used at sporting events. Our chaperone gave us permission to use our school chants. We would not have done that without obtaining permission from the adults in charge of our group.
At no time did I hear any student chant anything other than the school spirit chants. I did not witness or hear any students chant “build the wall” or anything hateful or racist at any time. Assertions to the contrary are simply false. Our chants were loud because we wanted to drown out the hateful comments that were being shouted at us by the protestors.
After a few minutes of chanting, the Native American protestors, who I hadn’t previously noticed, approached out group. The Native American protestors had drums and were accompanied by at least one person with a camera.
The protestor everyone has seen in the video began playing his drum as he waded into the crowd, which parted for him. I did not see anyone try to block his path. He locked eyes with me and approached me, coming within inches of my face. He played his drum the entire time he was in my face.
I never interacted with this protestor. I did not speak to him. I did not make any hand gestures or other aggressive moves. To be honest, I was startled and confused as to why he approached me, We had already been yelled at by another group of protestors, and when the second group approached I was worried that a situation was getting out of control where adults were attempting to provoke teenagers.
I believed that by remaining motionless and calm, I was helping to diffuse the situation. I realized everyone had cameras and that perhaps a group of adults was trying to provoke a group of teenagers into a larger conflict. I said a silent prayer that the situation would not get out of hand.
During the period of the drumming, a member of the protestor’s entourage began yelling at a fellow student that we “stole our land” and that we should “go back to Europe.” I heard one of my fellow students begin to respond. I motioned my classmate and tried to get him to stop engaging with the protestor, as I was in the mindset that we needed to calm down tensions.
I never felt like I was blocking the Native American protestor. He did not make any attempt to go around me. It was clear to me that he had singled me out for a confrontation, although I am not sure why.
The engagement ended when one of our teachers told me the busses had arrived and it was time to go. I obeyed my teacher and simply walked to the busses. At that moment, I thought I had diffused the situation by remaining calm, and I was thankful nothing physical had occurred.
I never understood why either of the two groups of protestors were engaging with us, or exactly what they were protesting at the Lincoln Memorial. We were simply there to meet a bus, not become central players in a media spectacle. This is the first time in my life I’ve ever encountered any sort of public protest, let alone this kind of confrontation or demonstration.
I was not intentionally making faces at the protestor. I did smile at one point because I wanted him to know that I was not going to become angry, intimidated or be provoked into a larger confrontation. 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.
I harbor no ill will for this person. I respect this person’s right to protest and engage in free speech activities, and I support his chanting on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and day of the week. I believe he should re-think his tactics of invading the personal space of others, but that is his choice to make.
I am being called every name in the book, including a racist, and I will not stand for this mob-like character assassination of my family’s name. My parents were not on the trip and I strive to represent my family in a respectful way in all public settings.
I have received physical and death threats via social media, as well as hateful insults. One person threatened to harm me at school, and one person claims to live in my neighborhood, My parents are receiving death and professional threats because of the social media mob that has formed over this issue.
I love my school, my teachers and my classmates. I work hard to achieve good grades and to participate in several extracurricular activities. I am mortified that so many people have come to believe something that did not happen – that students from my school were chanting or acting in a racist fashion toward African Americans or Native Americans. I did not do that, do not have hateful feelings in my heart, and did not witness any of my classmates doing that.
I cannot speak for everyone, only for myself. But I can tell you my experience with Covington Catholic is that students are respectful of all races and cultures. We also support everyone’s right to free speech. I am not going to comment on the words or account of Mr> Phillips, as I don’t know him and would not presume to know what is in his heart or mind. Nor am I going to comment further on the other protestors, as I don’t know their hearts or minds, either.
I have read Mr. Phillips is a veteran of the United States Marines. I thank him for his service and am grateful to anyone who puts on the uniform to defend our nation. If anyone has earned the right to speak freely, it is a U.S. Marine veteran.
I can only speak for myself and what I observed and felt at the time. But I would caution everyone passing judgement based on a few seconds of video to watch the longer video clips that are on the Internet, as they show a much different story than is being portrayed by people with agendas.