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The Latest: Teen in video says he sought to calm tension

January 21, 2019
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In this Friday, Jan. 18, 2019 image made from video provided by the Survival Media Agency, a teenager wearing a "Make America Great Again" hat, center left, stands in front of an elderly Native American singing and playing a drum in Washington. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Covington in Kentucky is looking into this and other videos that show youths, possibly from the diocese's all-male Covington Catholic High School, mocking Native Americans at a rally in Washington. (Survival Media Agency via AP)

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — The Latest on videos showing Kentucky students in a confrontation at a Native American at a rally in Washington (all times local):

8:45 p.m.

A teen at the center of a video confrontation with a Native American organizer of a march in Washington, D.C., says he did nothing to provoke anyone and sought to calm the situation.

The student identified himself in an email Sunday evening as junior Nick Sandmann of Covington Catholic High School in Kentucky. An official working with the family confirmed Sandmann’s identity, speaking on condition of anonymity because the source didn’t want to distract from the teen’s statement.

Sandmann says students were waiting at the Lincoln Memorial for buses to return to Kentucky on Friday when four African-American protesters there began insulting them.

The Native American, Nathan Phillips, told The Associated Press he approached the Kentucky students to keep the peace between them and the third group of protesters. Videos show Sandmann standing very close to Phillips and staring at him as he sang and played the drum. Other students — some in “Make America Great Again” hats and sweatshirts — were chanting and laughing.

Sandman says the students began yelling “school spirit chants” to drown out the protesters and he did not hear students chant anything “hateful or racist at any time.”

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2:40 p.m.

A Native American organizer of a march in Washington, D.C., says he felt compelled to get between a group of black religious activists and largely white students with his ceremonial drum to defuse a potentially dangerous situation.

Nathan Phillips on Sunday recounted for The Associated Press how he came to be surrounded by a group of students from a Catholic boys’ high school in Kentucky in an encounter captured on videos that are circulating online. Some of the students were wearing “Make America Great Again” hats.

Phillips was participating in Friday’s Indigenous Peoples March. The students had attended the March for Life rally the same day.

Videos also show members of the activist group yelling insults at the students, who taunt them in return.

Videos also show students chanting, laughing and jeering as Phillips sings and plays the drum.

A Kentucky diocese has issued an apology to the Ypsilanti, Michigan, man.

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10:50 a.m.

Students at a Kentucky Catholic school who were involved in a video showing them mocking Native Americans outside the Lincoln Memorial after a Washington rally could potentially face expulsion.

In a joint statement, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Covington and Covington Catholic High School apologized and said they are investigating and will take “appropriate action, up to and including expulsion.”

The Indigenous Peoples March in Washington on Friday coincided with the March for Life, which drew thousands of anti-abortion protesters, including a group from Covington Catholic High School in Park Hills, Kentucky.

Videos circulating online show a youth staring at and standing extremely close to Nathan Phillips, a 64-year-old Native American man singing and playing a drum. Other students, some wearing Covington clothing and many wearing “Make America Great Again” hats and sweat shirts, surrounded them, chanting, laughing and jeering.

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