Christopher Cantwell, a white supremacist featured in the widely viewed Vice documentary on Charlottesville, has turned himself in to police for charges related to the white-nationalist rally. Police at the University of Virginia had issued warrants for Cantwell’s arrest on two counts of illegal use of tear gas and other gases, and one count of malicious bodily injury with a caustic substance.
Cantwell, who is 36 and lives in New Hampshire, turned himself in at the Lynchburg Police Department in Virginia. He is being held at the regional jail as he awaits transport to Charlottesville.
Earlier this week, Cantwell told the New York Times that he believed the charges were related to a photograph taken by a journalist that shows him “pepper-spraying a guy straight in his face as he’s coming towards me.”
Cantwell said his actions were justified because he was acting in self-defense.
“I thought that spraying that guy was the least damaging thing I could do,” he said. “In my left hand I had a flashlight. My other option, other than the pepper spray, was to break this guy’s teeth. Okay? And I didn’t want to do that. I just wanted him to not hurt me.”
In the Vice report on the August 11 rally, which has been viewed more than 44 million times, Cantwell calls for an “ethno-state,” and calls the killing of protester Heather Heyer justified, adding, “I think that a lot more people are going to die before we’re done here.”
On the day after the torch-lit rally at UVA, Cantwell held back tears as he discussed the possibility of being arrested.
Cantwell’s critics mocked the video, but he claimed he wasn’t afraid of going to prison. “I get a little emotional about the fact that all this is going on, and now people want to throw me in prison because I want to save my race and nation,” he told the Times.
“I don’t think I did anything wrong,’’ he said, “and I’m looking forward to my day in court.”