Update: A white nationalist leader wanted for three felonies related to the recent violence in Charlottesville, VA turned himself in to authorities in Virginia. Christopher Cantwell appeared in court Thursday and was denied bail, according to UVA police.
This article was originally published on August 23, 2017.
New Hampshire native Christopher Cantwell told the Associated Press he pepper-sprayed a counter-protester at the August 11 white nationalist rally on the University of Virginia campus, but he claimed it was self defense.Cantwell is wanted for two counts of the illegal use of tear gas and one count of malicious bodily injury with a "caustic substance," explosive, or fire, according to the UVA police.
“It’s all just been so confusing since the authorities would rather leak conflicting information to media than communicate honestly with my attorney,” Cantwell told Charlottesville's The Daily Progress.
He become a well-known face of the white nationalist movement when he was featured in VICE News Tonight's "Charlottesville: Race and Terror" segment. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has a whole page on the 37-year-old, citing his call-in talk show "Radical Agenda" and claiming his violent and racist statements have gotten him kicked out of more than one libertarian organization.
"[My] goal here is to normalize racism," Cantell told the SPLC's blog, Hatewatch. "I'm going to make a commercial enterprise out of saying things that people want to make illegal."
The police obtained arrest warrants for Cantwell for crimes he allegedly committed the night before the August 12 rally that resulted in the deaths of a counter-protester, 32-year-old Heather Heyer, and two police officers. The man believed to have killed Heyer and injured many others, James Alex Fields Jr., is in jail awaiting trial for second-degree murder and other charges.
"I think that a lot more people are going to die before we’re done here," Cantwell said in the VICE News segment.
Although he's expected to turn himself in to the authorities in the next 24 hours, he has not said where or when he'll do so. He told The Associated Press he looks forward to his day in court.