Diocese investigation clears Covington students of racist or offensive speech during D.C. incident

Reminds me of that “Naked Gun” scene:

“Hey, look at that! The missing evidence in the Kelner case. My god, he was innocent.”
“He went to the chair two years ago, Frank.”

Ah well, I trust that this report absolving the kids of misconduct will convince their critics belatedly. It’s not like the human garbage that populates the Internet is known to double down on a bad opinion just to avoid admitting they were wrong.

The report, prepared by Greater Cincinnati Investigation, Inc. and dated Feb. 11, employed four licensed investigators for approximately 240 hours to take statements from students and chaperones, as well as to interview third-party witnesses and review about 50 hours of video. Investigators were not able to interview either Phillips or Sandmann in person and instead reviewed the student’s written account.

The investigators said they found no evidence that the students responded in an offensive manner to the Black Hebrew Israelites or that they chanted “Build the Wall.” After asking chaperones, they performed a school cheer, according to the report, to drown out the Black Hebrew Israelites…

According to the report, one of the chaperones told students that if “they engaged in a verbal exchange with the Black Hebrew Israelites, they would receive detention when returning to school.”

You can read the full report, which is all of three pages long, on the diocese website. The worst violation they found was some of the kids having done the tomahawk chop while Nathan Phillips drummed. The fact that investigators didn’t get to chat with Phillips and Nick Sandmann despite trying is an obvious problem although they did speak to 43 students who were there and 16 adult chaperones and undertook what sounds like a comprehensive review of the video. (50 hours?) The part about the kids being threatened with detention if they talked back to the Black Hebrew Israelites caught my eye. Does that mean they were jawing with them at first and had to be warned to knock it off or were the adults keeping a tight leash that day, making other reports of misconduct even less believable?

The interesting question necessarily goes unanswered: Should the kids have been allowed to talk back? Not by saying anything offensive, of course, but by standing up for themselves when the BHIs and Phillips tried to bait them. When minors are sucked into a political confrontation, they can follow the rule that they’re entitled to defend their beliefs or they can follow the rule that they should be respectful of elders. What should students, especially students representing a Catholic school at a pro-life rally, do?

The local bishop, who initially believed that the kids were the instigators with Phillips, was delighted that the results of the investigation will let him put this matter behind him:

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 there was surely a pro-life stance. I commend them.

From what I can glean, most of the reaction to the report this afternoon from critics focuses on the fact that the kids still wore MAGA hats (the investigators believe most of the hats were purchased when they got to D.C. and note that Obama hats were allowed in the past) and the fact that investigators failed to recommend steps for how to avoid this in the future. Uh, avoid what in the future? The all-too-common scenario in which 15-year-olds are accosted by activist cranks while on a school field trip? If the kids did nothing wrong, logically there shouldn’t be recommendations on reform. The recommendation is “Do the same things you did this time.”

Good news, though. If you’re of the opinion that white teenaged boys are always in the wrong because even the act of breathing is privileged when they do it, there’s a new outrage to consume your time. There’s always a new outrage to consume your time.