Nick Sandmann, finally speaks, after a video went viral presuming to show him mock a group of Native American protesters in Washington DC over the weekend.
Nick who is a junior at Covington Catholic High School in Kentucky was accused of mocking an Indigenous American man, Nathan Philip on Friday. The teenager came out to expressly deny all the claims, asserting they are all false.
The young lad released a statement on Sunday saying:
“The protestor everyone has seen in the video began playing his drum as he waded into the crowd, which parted for him. He locked eyes with me and approached me, coming within inches of my face. He played his drum the entire time he was in my face.”
Nick also claimed not to have interacted with the demonstrators at any point in time.
“I did not speak to him. I did not make any hand gestures or other aggressive moves. I was started and confused as to why he had approached me.” - Sandmann
In a statement released on Sunday, the teenager said the first set of protesters had harassed an African American student from his school by telling him they would "harvest his parts."
To counter the hateful comments made at them, a student had asked one of their teachers for permission to begin their school spirit chants. The teacher permitted them, and that was when the students joined the protest.
“I did not hear or witness any student chant ‘build that wall’ or anything hateful or racist at any time.” - Nick
Nathan Phillips, a Vietnam veteran, seems to disagree with the young boy and claimed Nick indeed utter some derogatory words towards him right before the uncomfortable stare went down between them.
"I heard them say, 'Build that wall, build that wall,' you know? This is indigenous lands, you know. We’re not supposed to have walls here. We never did. Before anybody else came here we never had walls. We never had a prison." - Phillips
In the interview, Philips further said:
“It was getting ugly, I started going that way, and that guy in the hat just stood in my way...he blocked me and wouldn't allow me to retreat.”
Sandmann has denied this claiming, he did smile, but it was to let the protesters know he wasn't going to get angry or agitated by their bants. He said he remained calm through the whole thing, hoping that would help diffuse the tensed situation and not aggravate it.
Since the video went viral, the Sandmann's have been receiving death threats physically, and on social media.
Covington Catholic School and the Diocese of Covington have come out to condemn the act jointly. They reprimanded the actions of their student and extended their heartfelt apologies to Mr. Phillips.
“This behavior is opposed to the Churches teachings on dignity and respect of the human person. The matter is being investigated, and we will take appropriate action, up to and including expulsion” the school's statement read.
Sandmann agreed to help with the investigation which he is confident will prove his innocence.