The Native American activist who confronted pro-Trump high school students on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial was involved in a similar incident nearly four years ago.
As WND reported Monday, a viral video of the incident prompted widespread outrage as it was reported by many media outlets as evidence of a racist confrontation by the students from a Catholic high school in Kentucky. Longer videos have emerged, however, contradicting the activist, Nathan Phillips, and backing the boys’ claim that they were the targets of attack.
Now, a report has been unearthed of an incident in April 2015 in which Phillips claimed he was harassed by students at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti.
The Fox affiliate in Detroit reported Phillips, a local resident, claimed he was out for a noon walk when he saw students at a theme party dressed as American Indians.
Phillips said he wanted to teach them to respect Native Americans but the interaction “turned ugly.”
“They had little feathers on, I was just going to walk by,” Phillips said. “A group of them said ‘Come on over, come here.'”
He the approximately 30 to 40 students “had their face painted.”
“I said what the heck is going on here. ‘Oh we are honoring you.’ I said no you are not honoring me.”
Phillips said the students took offense and “started whooping and hollering.”
“I said that wasn’t honoring, that was racist. Then at that time, it really got ugly.”
Phillips claimed they cursed him and threw a bear can at him.
“(They said) ‘Go back to the reservation, you blank indian,'” he said.
Phillips said he would have been hit in the head by the can but backed up and was hit in the chest.
He said he called police but the party had dispersed by the time officers arrived. He filed a report with campus police who told the TV station an investigation was under way.
Reacting to outrage over the incident Friday in Washington, the Catholic Diocese of Covington and Covington Catholic High School on Saturday condemned the boys, apologized to Phillips and vowed to take “appropriate action, up to and including expulsion.”
But that was before the video evidence emerged refuting Phillips’ claim to the Washington Post that the students were blocking his path hurling racial insults.
The student shown face-to-face with Phillips in the viral video, Nick Sandmann, issued a lengthy statement contending it was the Native American activist who got in his face.
“I believed that by remaining motionless and calm, I was helping to diffuse the situation,” Sandmann said. “I realized everyone had cameras and that perhaps a group of adults was trying to provoke a group of teenagers into a larger conflict.”
The teen said he and his family have received death threats.
“I am being called every name in the book, including racist, and I will not stand for this mob-like character assassination of my family’s name,” he said.
Congressman: ‘A brutal lesson’
The students’ representative in Congress, Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., tweeted that the “honorable and tolerant students of Covington Catholic School came to DC to advocate for the unborn and to learn about our nation’s Capitol.”
The students participated in the March for Life, the annual pro-life event on the National Mall.
“What they got was a brutal lesson in the unjust court of public opinion and social media mobs,” he said.
In his statement, Sandmann said when the students arrived at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to be picked up, they noticed “four African American protestors” there.
He said the protesters called the students “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,” Sandmann wrote.
He said one of the students asked permission from a teacher chaperone “to begin our school spirit chants to counter the hateful things that were being shouted at our group.”
“At no time did I hear any student chant anything other than the school spirit chants,” he said. “I did not witness or hear any students chant ‘build that 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.”
Sandmann said Phillips began “playing his drum as he waded into the crowd, which parted for him.”
One of the Native American protesters, the student said, yelled at them that they “stole our land” and should “go back to Europe.”