New details have emerged in a story involving a nonviolent confrontation in front of the Lincoln Memorial, according to CBS News.
A video which went viral across the internet depicted a group of teenagers, many of which wearing “Make America Great Again” hats, apparently taunting a singing Native American Vietnam veteran during the first Indigenous People’s March on Friday. Both parties, however, have told CBS News saying that there is more to the story.
“I just wanted God to look at my American country to see what’s happening here,” said Nathan Phillips, the Native American man in the video. “God, look at this.”
The teenagers were students at Covington Catholic High School in Kentucky, and were in Washington for the March for Life rally, CBS reported. Phillips, on the other hand, was there for the Indigenous Peoples’ March.
According to CBS News, chaperones of the students say that a third group, African-American Hebrew Israelites, started the situation by yelling “hateful things” at the group.
“Our boys did nothing, they did not attack those gentlemen,” said Jill Hamlin, a parent of one of the students.
Phillips told CBS News that he saw this encounter and went over, hoping to calm the situation.
“They could have just walked away from it,” he said, “but no, they decided they wanted to stay there.”
At the center of the video is Nick Sandmann, who can be seen wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat while staring Phillips face-to-face. Sandmann released a written statement, saying that his actions are being misinterpreted.
“I believed that by remaining motionless and calm, I was helping to diffuse the situation,” Sandmann said in the statement. “I said a silent prayer that the situation would not get out of hand.”