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Kentucky bishop says Covington students were not instigators

The Associated Press
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In this Friday, Jan. 18, 2019 image made from video provided by the Survival Media Agency, a teenager wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat, center left, stands in front of an elderly Native American singing and playing a drum in Washington. (Survival Media Agency via AP)

COVINGTON, Ky. — A Kentucky diocese investigation has determined that Catholic school boys didn’t instigate a confrontation at the Lincoln Memorial that went viral on social media.

Covington Bishop Roger Foys initially condemned the students’ behavior after a video showed one teenager face-to-face with a Native American man. Days later, Foys apologized for “making a statement prematurely.”

The students were in Washington for an anti-abortion rally last month when they encountered a group of black street preachers who were shouting insults at both them and a group of Native Americans. The bishop now says the students “were placed in a situation that was at once bizarre and even threatening.”

Both the Native American man, Nathan Phillips, and the Covington student shown in the video have said they were attempting to defuse the situation.