COVINGTON, Ky. —
The lawyers for the family of Nicholas Sandmann have filed a lawsuit against The Washington Post, seeking $250 million in both compensatory and punitive damages.
Sandmann, 16, is the Covington Catholic High School junior at the center of a controversy after his face was depicted across social media, along with Native American protester Nathan Phillips.
Attorneys Lin Wood and Todd McMurtry said it’s their first lawsuit on behalf of Sandmann’s family, and additional lawsuits will likely be filed.
The lawsuit claims that the Post “wrongfully targeted and bullied Nicholas because he was the white, Catholic student wearing a red ‘Make America Great Again’ souvenir cap on a school field trip to the January 18 March for Life in Washington, D.C.”
The lawsuit adds that the Post engaged in “a modern-day form of McCarthyism.”
The lawsuit goes on to say that the Post “ignored basic journalist standards.”
WLWT contact the Washington Post for a comment.
“We are reviewing a copy of the lawsuit and we plan to mount a vigorous defense,” Kristine Coratti Kelly, vice president of communications, said via email.
The lawsuit follows a nationwide firestorm of controversy involving students from Covington Catholic High School during a January march in Washington.
The students were attending an annual March for Life trip, which coincided with an Indigenous Peoples March.
Viral videos show students from the all-boys high school involved in an incident with a Native American elder during a trip to the nation’s capital. The videos sparked a social media firestorm, with many calling out the young boys for their treatment of the elder.
But lengthier video was released in later days that appears to show a different story.
An independent, third-party investigation — commissioned by the Diocese of Covington — found the students made no offensive or racist statements toward Phillips or anyone who was with him that day.
The report by Greater Cincinnati Investigation Inc. out of Taylor Mill, Kentucky, concluded there was nothing to indicate the students behaved offensively, nothing to show they chanted “Build The Wall,” as some critics previously thought.
The Diocese issued a written statement saying the students didn’t start anything.