New context given to stare-down between student, local Native American elder in D.C.
WASHINGTON – It was an emotionally charged moment that made headlines over the weekend between a high school student and a local Native American elder in Washington D.C.
The student in the red Make America Great Again hat said what people saw in short video clips is not fair accounting of what took place.
"I seen was the fabric of America being ripped apart by racism," Nathan Phillips said.
Nathan Phillips is a Native American activist and Vietnam veteran from Ypsilanti.
"These are our youth, future, next leaders and this is the way they’re behaving on the national monument grounds? With hate and racism," Phillips said.
The teen in the video, Nick Sandmann, is a junior at Covington Catholic High School in Kentucky. He released the following statement:
"I believed that by remaining motionless and calm, I was helping to diffuse the situation. I realized everyone had cameras and that perhaps a group of adults was trying to provoke a group of teenagers into a larger conflict."
Sandmann said his classmates were targeted first by a small group of African-American men who call themselves Hebrew Israelites.
The Hebrew Israelites can be heard in a video calling the group of students "future school shooters."
Sandmann said the students began yelling school spirit chants to drown out the insults from the Hebrew Israelites after getting permission from a teacher.
"No, I don’t buy his narrative. I don’t buy he was out there trying to be a peacemaker when he was out there taunting those black people. I don’t buy it at all," Phillips said.
Phillips says he tried to get between the two groups and diffuse the situation, which escalated.
"They were doing the tomahawk chop. They’re calling me the protestor? We were there in prayer. They were the ones protesting," Phillips said.
WATCH: Priya Mann's report from Sunday