The incident involved an interaction among a group of Covington Catholic High School student-activists who had participated in the March for Life, a group of Native American demonstrators participating in their own Indigenous Peoples March and members of a fringe religious group known as the Black Hebrew Israelites. The teenager stares smiling at him while Phillips sings and plays his drum.
The viral incident ― which was covered by many major news outlets ― caused nationwide outrage at both ends of the political spectrum, with perceptions becoming more complicated after more than an hour of the footage from the encounter later emerged.
The Sandmanns" suit asserts that the newspaper "bullied" Sandmann in its reporting "because he was the white, Catholic student wearing a red "Make America Great Again' souvenir cap".
The lengthy complaint states the long-standing newspaper attacked Nicholas Sandmann because he was "white" and wearing a red "Make America Great Again" cap on a January 18 field trip to the March for Life in Washington, D.C. While at the event, the lawsuit states Sandmann was "unexpectedly and suddenly confronted by Nathan Phillips, a known Native American activist" who beat a drum and yelled in Sandmann's face. Sandmann and the other students were criticized for their behavior, which appeared to be mocking Phillips and other activists.
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The Diocese of Covington commissioned a third party to investigate what happened, but a report released last week said it found no evidence that students made offensive or racist comments.
"Nicholas stood quietly and respectfully for several minutes after being targeted and bullied by Phillips and Nicholas' body language remained non-aggressive and passive throughout the incident", the lawsuit says.
The investigators said they found no evidence of such a chant and that Mr Phillips did not respond to multiple attempts to contact him.