Posted on February 13, 2019

Probe Finds No Proof of ‘Racist or Offensive Statements’ by Covington Catholic Students in Viral Incident

Brett Samuels, The Hill, February 13, 2019

An investigation into the viral encounter between students from Covington Catholic High School and a Native American man found the students’ accounts to be largely accurate, according to findings released Wednesday.

Greater Cincinnati Investigations issued a report dated Feb. 11 that found no evidence that students from Covington Catholic made “offensive or racist” statements to either Black Hebrew Israelites or Native American tribe members gathered on the National Mall.


{snip} The students maintained that they were being respectful, and additional video footage and accounts emerged in the days that followed that showed Phillips had walked toward the student group amid broader tensions near the Lincoln Memorial.

Investigators found that based on interviews with 43 students and 16 adult chaperones and hours of video and social media content, “none of the students felt threatened by Mr. Phillips and many stated they were ‘confused.’”

The investigation found that some students performed a “tomahawk chop” to the beat of Phillips’ drum, and that the group did “school cheers” directed at the Black Hebrew Israelites.

The Bishop of the Covington Diocese, Roger Foys, welcomed the report as vindication of the students’ behavior, despite the diocese’s initial condemnation of the events.