Nathan Phillips, a Native American activist who had approached a group of Covington High School students and later claimed that they had blocked him, has a criminal record including assault and escape from jail, according to a report in the Washington Examiner.
The Examiner reported:
Phillips, 63, suggested high school junior Nick Sandmann, the teenager at the center of the viral encounter after separate D.C. rallies, face expulsion for failing to “accept any responsibility” or apologize to Phillips publicly.
In his own teenage years and early 20s, Phillips, using his adoptive name Nathaniel R. Stanard, was charged with escaping from prison, assault, and several alcohol-related crimes, according to local news reports at the time from his hometown of Lincoln, Neb.
The report said at age 19, Phillips was “charged with escaping from the Nebraska Penal Complex where he was confined May 3,” according to a May 9, 1974, article in the Lincoln Star. The court approved a bond of $500 and set a preliminary hearing for May 14, according to the article.
Phillips then pleaded guilty to assault on June 19, 1974, and was fined $200, according to the report. He was also charged with underage possession of alcohol in 1972, 1973, and 1975, as well as negligent driving, the report said.
A destruction of property charge against him was dropped in August 1973, but Phillips was sentenced to one year probation for a related charge of alcohol possession by a minor, it said. In December 1978, he was charged with driving without a license, it said.
Phillips’ background became the subject of interest, after journalists and pundits repeatedly mentioned he was a “Vietnam veteran” despite having served in the military at a time when combat troops were coming home from the war.
Phillips had said he served in the Marine Corps from 1972 to 1976, and that he was a “recon ranger.”
Columnist Phil Kerpen discovered a video where Phillips said on January 3, 2018:
“I’m a Vietnam vet. You know, I served in Marine Corps ’72 to ’76, you know. Uh, one of the — I got honorable discharge, and one of the boxes in there, it shows that it was peacetime or what my box says is that I was in theater. I don’t talk much about my Vietnam times,” he said on video.
Nathan Phillips, January 3, 2018
“I’m a Vietnam Vet. I served in Marine Corps 72 to 76. I got discharged May 5, 1976. I got honorable discharge and one of the boxes shows peacetime or, what my box says is that I was **in theater**. I don’t talk much about my Vietnam times.” pic.twitter.com/nIoYxGoPqM
— Phil Kerpen (@kerpen) January 24, 2019
Retired Navy SEAL Don Shipley, who is known for his work on stolen valor, said he got a hold of Phillips’ military records, which showed that he was never deployed outside of the United States, and that his job was as a refrigerator mechanic.
The record also showed that he went Absent Without Leave (AWOL) three times, according to Shipley.
Despite Phillips’ criminal record, he criticized the Covington Catholic high school teens for their behavior.
“When we see our youth going the wrong way, we will go up and say, ‘You are doing the wrong thing there nephew, or grandson,'” he told Rewire News on Sunday. “This is just the wrong way. I tell them, ‘This is the way you have to behave. This is wrong, this is right. You gotta do it a certain way. We have protocols.’”
Phillips also told CNN on Saturday, after the encounter with the students on Friday that they looked like were going to “lynch” a group of black protesters, who were later identified as Black Hebrew Israelites that were harassing the students.
“Here are American youth who are ready to, look like, lynch these guys. To be honest, they looked like they were going to lynch them. They were in this mob mentality. Where were their parents? Because they were obvious a student group,” Phillips said.
He also said Sandmann had “put himself in front” of him, according to CNN’s transcript.
“This young fellow put himself in front of me and wouldn’t move. If I took another step, I would be putting my person into his presence, into his space and I would’ve touched him and that would’ve been the thing that the group of people would’ve needed to spring on me,” he told CNN.