Nick Sandmann, a junior at Covington Catholic High School, has been identified as the student who came face-to-face with Native American activist and Vietnam War veteran Nathan Phillips on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.
Sandmann and Phillips came face-to-face in the now viral video that featured Sandmann and his peers wearing Make America Great Again hats.
In the initial clip that was shared online, it appeared that Sandmann and others were mocking Phillips, who was beating on a drum after participating in the Indigenous Peoples March last Friday.
Now, Sandmann is defending himself.
According to Sandmann, and a nearly two-hour video that shows a broader picture of the incident, he and the Covington Catholic High School students were being harassed by a group identifying themselves as the Black Hebrew Israelites. You can watch the full video here.
In the video you can hear the students, who were reportedly waiting for a bus to pick them up, being bombarded with insults like “inbred” and “future school shooters,” while there were also some homophobic slurs calling the kids “f*ggots.”
At that time, Phillips got between the two groups.
Sandmann says that he held his ground and attempted to remain calm in order to de-escalate the situation.
“I believed that by remaining motionless and calm, I was helping to [defuse] the situation,” Sandmann’s statement read. “I said a silent prayer that the situation would not get out of hand. “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.
“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.”
He added: “I heard one of my fellow students begin to respond. I motioned to my classmate and tried to get him to stop engaging with the protestor, as I was still in the mindset that we needed to calm down tensions.”
Just in: Statement of Nick Sandmann, Covington Catholic High School junior, about the event at the Lincoln Memorial: pic.twitter.com/PkuMh2cVZM
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) January 20, 2019
Was this all just a misunderstanding and did the internet jump too quickly to villainize the high schoolers before even seeing both sides of the story and the full video? Sound off in the comments section below.