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‘Black Israelite’ From Brooklyn Takes Credit for Sparking Covington Students’ Showdown With Nathan Phillips

A religious zealot from Brooklyn claims he sparked the contentious face-off Friday between a group of Catholic high-school students and activists at the Indigenous Peoples March in Washington, D.C., the New York Post reports. The man, who calls himself “Chief Ephraim Israel,” was caught on video berating both the Covington Catholic High School students from Kentucky and the Native American activists for more than an hour before student Nick Sandmann stared down activist Nathan Phillips in an exchange that quickly went viral. “They started doing their chants, so I was cutting into them,” said Israel, 36, claiming the students were making a futile attempt to keep him quiet. “I called them dogs. They sounded like dogs,” he told the Post. He told the Post his “words of God” had “ripped” the “souls” from the students before Phillips came along and tried to “de-escalate the situation.”