Diocese of Covington: CovCath students did not instigate incident at Lincoln Memorial

Updated: Feb. 13, 2019 at 11:51 AM EST
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CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - The Diocese of Covington sent a letter to Covington Catholic High School parents stating their investigation has concluded students did not instigate any incidents during a school trip to Washington, D.C.

CovCath students faced backlash on social media after a video was posted and widely shared showing a tense exchange between a group of students, a group of Black Hebrew Israelites and a group from the Indigenous Peoples March in front of the Lincoln Memorial on Jan. 18.

The letter from Bishop Foys reads in part:

"In these past several weeks since the original video went viral two well-worn and oft-used adages have come to mind: Seeing is believing and Perception is reality. The immediate world-wide reaction to the initial video led almost everyone to believe that out students had initiated the incident and the perception of those few minutes of video became reality.

In truth, taking everything into account, our students were placed in a situation that was at once bizarre and even threatening. Their reaction to the situation was, given the circumstances, expected and one might even say laudatory. These students had come to Washington, D.C. to support life. They marched peacefully with hundreds of thousands of others - young and old and in-between - to further the cause of life. These young high school students could never have expected what they experienced on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial while waiting for the busses to take them home. Their stance was surely a pro-life stance. I commend them."

[RELATED: Videos of incident involving CovCath students at D.C. march]

A final investigative report from Greater Cincinnati Investigation, Inc. that stated it was proper to close the investigation was also shared.

The report stated there was no evidence of offensive or racist statements by students to Nathan Philips, a Native American man participating in the Indigenous Peoples March, or members of his group.

“Some students performed a ‘tomahawk chop’ to the beat of Mr. Phillips’ drumming and some joined in Mr. Phillips’ chant,” the report said.

Investigators said they interviewed 43 students, 16 chaperones and reviewed about 50 hours of internet activity that led them to their findings.

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