The students from Covington Catholic High School in Kentucky who found themselves embroiled in a media firestorm last month made no “offensive or racist statements” of which they were initially accused, an investigation revealed Wednesday.
An edited video that went mega-viral on Jan. 18 showed several white male students from the Covington school, many of whom were wearing “Make America Great Again” hats, during a tense encounter with Nathan Phillips, a Native American elder, at the March for Life rally in Washington.
The video unleashed a torrent of criticism by politicians, celebrities and media members who accused the boys of racism and assumed they were mocking the Native American. Hours of footage that later surfaced appeared to debunk that narrative, resulting in a slew of retractions and apologies.
A probe into the incident led by Greater Cincinnati Investigation Inc., which was released Wednesday by the Diocese of Covington, further exonerated the students.
“We found no evidence of offensive or racist statements by students to Mr. Phillips or members of his group,” the report said.
Bishop Roger Foys said in a statement that the students had been cleared of any wrongdoing.
“Our inquiry, conducted by a third party firm that has no connection with Covington Catholic High School or the Diocese of Covington, has demonstrated that our students did not instigate the incident that occurred at the Lincoln Memorial,” his statement said.
Meanwhile, a legal team for Nick Sandmann, the student at the center of the controversy, is preparing for possible legal action against the “cybermob” that attacked him and his fellow students after the incident, Fox News reported.