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Lawyer for Covington Catholic HS Families Threatens Lawsuits Against Media Unless They Retract False Stories

Teens in MAGA hats taunted by Native American

Thanks to the sloppy, one-sided reporting of the malicious, agenda-driven media, a group of Catholic high school teenagers and their families have become the subjects of threats and harassment from a hateful online outrage mob. Their only sins? Being white, Catholic, and supporters of the president.

The full story has emerged in the wake of the fake news blitzkrieg over the weekend, and the media outlets that spread defamatory smears against the kids are now being warned to correct and retract their stories or face a lawsuit. Contrary to the media's malicious narrative, the kids were not racist rednecks mobbing a Native American elder with hateful slurs. It was quite the opposite.

Los Angeles-based trial lawyer Robert Barnes offered to represent the Covington families for free should they decide to sue the New York Times. 

Barnes told PJ Media that he was working with the families to sue the media outlets that defamed them.

He said that "anyone who doesn't correct and retract" their false smears would be subject to a lawsuit and that updated stories merely indicating "a more complex picture has emerged" would not necessarily be enough.

When asked if such stories would count as a retraction, he replied that it "depends."

According to his website, Barnes has a history of taking on the causes of underdogs: "Fighting for individuals against unethical law firms, corrupt banks, and rogue government agents, Barnes continues the family tradition his great-grandfathers started centuries ago, fighting for the freedoms that founded America."

Video evidence and statements from multiple witnesses indicate that the boys were targeted by two groups of protesters who hurled hateful, racial, homophobic slurs at them while they waited on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial for their bus after participating in the March for Life.

It was while they were waiting for their bus that a black separatist fringe group known for making outrageous, racist, anti-gay statements went on a lengthy tirade against them.

Reason's Robby Soave provided some background on the Black Hebrew Israelites in his report yesterday:

Far from engaging in racially motivated harassment, the group of mostly white, MAGA-hat-wearing male teenagers remained relatively calm and restrained despite being subjected to incessant racist, homophobic, and bigoted verbal abuse by members of the bizarre religious sect Black Hebrew Israelites, who were lurking nearby. The BHI has existed since the late 19th century, and is best describes as a black nationalist cult movement; its members believe they are descendants of the ancient Israelites, and often express condemnation of white people, Christians, and gays. DC-area Black Hebrews are known to spout particularly vile bigotry.

The BHI members shouted profanities at the boys, calling them names such as "cracker," "faggot," and "pedophile," and singled out a black student for abuse, saying he was a "n*gger" who was going to be murdered and have his organs harvested by the white kids.

After a while, the boys asked their chaperones if they could sing their school songs to drown out the abusive taunts being hurled at them. The boys rambunctiously sang the songs, but did not direct any racist slurs at the agitators.

In the midst of this, a group of Native American activists from the American Indian Movement began to march toward the high schoolers.

According to one of the kids' parents on Facebook, the leader initially focused on her daughter, but because her horrified reaction was not the sort of optics they were hoping to catch on camera, they moved on to the more rambunctious boys.

The Center for Security Studies describes what happened next:

They were not trying to pass by as there were clear and open spaces on either side of the group of boys. As they march up, one of the videos shows an agitator saying the boys were targeted partly due to some wearing red Make America Great Again (MAGA) hats associated with President Trump. The activists were chanting and drumming and their leader, a man named Nathan Phillips, continued into the group and marched directly up to one boy who was simply standing quietly and began drumming and chanting loudly inches from his face.

The boy did not react except for a slight smile as the man continued to taunt him from close range for period of minutes. At one point the boy can even be seen looking over his shoulder and giving a signal to remain calm to some of his friends.

There are multiple videos of the event and none of them show the boys chanting any racist slurs or “Build the Wall” as Phillips had claimed they did. They show many of the boys bouncing and chanting along to start with but eventually upon seeing that Phillips was being aggressive they stopped chanting with him and began chanting at him. At one point a few of the boys did the “Tomahawk Chop” a gesture used widely at sports events, but no racial or other slurs were employed as seen in any of the available footage.

Incredibly, virtually all the major media outlets got it wrong. Their own confirmation bias led them to tell a completely different story over the weekend, basing their reportage on the dubious claims of Nathan Phillips without bothering to verify his claims and without seeking to hear the Covington teens' side of the story.

In Phillips' telling, the boys were the aggressors in the situation, forming a mob around him as he was marching and chanting peacefully.

“It was getting ugly, and I was thinking: ‘I’ve got to find myself an exit out of this situation and finish my song at the Lincoln Memorial,’” Phillips told the Washington Post. “I started going that way, and that guy in the hat stood in my way, and we were at an impasse. He just blocked my way and wouldn’t allow me to retreat.”

Without video evidence, the media reported Phillips' claim that the students subjected him to racist taunts and chanted “Build the Wall.” In all the hours of video available online, no footage has emerged of the kids doing any such thing.

Phillips later told the Detroit Free Press that the teenagers "were in the process of attacking these four black individuals" and he was trying to de-escalate the situation.

But the video footage taken by the black nationalists themselves does not show the white teenagers attacking them. It shows the BHI members targeting the Catholic kids with verbal abuse. Nevertheless, Phillips described the innocent kids as "beasts" and the black extremists who insulted him as "their prey."

"There was that moment when I realized I've put myself between beast and prey," Phillips said. "These young men were beastly and these old black individuals was their prey, and I stood in between them and so they needed their pounds of flesh and they were looking at me for that."

Again, the video evidence shows the opposite to be true. The "beasts" were the BHI members and the Catholic teenagers were their "prey."

How hard would it have been for the media to find the full video, which was already online, to verify Phillips' assertions before running with them? Nothing Phillips was alleging could be corroborated in the viral video clip of Phillips and the smiling teenager, but they reported his claims as gospel anyway.

The media also reported that the longtime lefty agitator is a Vietnam veteran who served in the U.S. Marine Corps as a "recon ranger" based on his say-so, without bothering to verify whether the claim was true.

The Center for Security Studies had some questions about that:

This is not a valid name for any Marine specialty or unit and Phillips age of 64 calls into question how he could have completed training and served in Vietnam prior to the US withdrawal. Several veterans groups are filing requests for his service records to validate his tale.

Unfortunately, like practically everyone else, the boys' own school threw them under the bus before all the facts were in, The Federalist noted:

No sooner had the boys gotten on their bus than they were thrown under it by their school and the Covington diocese, who issued a  joint statement condemning the students’ actions and saying the matter was under investigation that appropriate action would be taken. Um, if the matter is under investigation, doesn’t that suggest it might be good to wait before condemning the behavior? Could it be that there’s more to the story than a short, viral video?

The school and the diocese owed these boys a full hearing before coming to any conclusion. They now owe them an apology.

Since the story hit the news two days ago, an insatiable outrage mob has flooded Twitter with disgusting invective, abuse, violent threats, and calls to harass the Catholic kids, many of whom have been doxxed.

Allum Bokhari has a good rundown of the abuse at Breitbart. 

This is just a small sample:

This goon has 287,000 followers.

Is there any depth to which this harridan won't sink?

And of course, the execrable Brandon Friedman joined the mob:

One Covington family that wasn't even at the March for Life is facing death threats after being doxxed.

Nick Sandmann, the Covington Catholic High School junior who was targeted by Phillips and his drum because he was wearing a MAGA hat, put out a statement refuting the media's lies. Sandmann wrote that his family is receiving death threats because of the media's false reporting.

Rob Sanders, an attorney for the Kenton County Commonwealth, said on Monday that police were investigating threats made against Covington Catholic High School and some of its students, according to Cincinnati.com.

Sanders wouldn't elaborate on the nature of the threats, other than they were threats of violence against the school and students.

He said Covington Catholic is working with law enforcement to come up with a safety plan when school resumes Tuesday. He wouldn't go into details of the plan.

Meanwhile, two groups were planning to face off with counter-demonstrations on Tuesday, according to WCPO Cincinnati.

A "Stand with Covington Catholic High School rally" was scheduled to start at 8 a.m. at the school, according to a Facebook post that has since disappeared. "These young men need to be shown support and encouragement. Stop the harassment," the post said.

And the Indian Movement Chapter of Indiana and Kentucky has planned a "Peace Vigil To Call For An End To Racism" from 10 a.m. to noon at the Diocese of Covington offices.

Their rally was initially scheduled to take place at the school.

"We have advocated non-violence and accountability for administration, teachers and chaperones this entire time. Not once have we, as an organization, threatened anyone," the post said.