A white nationalist who gained fame when featured threatening violence and making anti-Semitic remarks in a documentary about the Charlottesville, Virginia rally, turned himself in to police after a warrant was issued for his arrest, police said Wednesday.
University of Virginia campus police issued a statement late Wednesday saying Christopher Cantwell of Keene, New Hampshire, was taken into custody at the police department in Lynchburg, Virginia.
Cantwell, reportedly one of the leaders of the “Unite the Right” rally on August 12, was wanted on three felony charges: two counts of the illegal use of tear gas or other gases and one count of malicious bodily injury with a “caustic substance,” explosive or fire
A brief university police statement said Cantwell was being held at a regional jail in Lynchburg pending transport to Charlottesville. It wasn’t immediately known if Cantwell has a lawyer.
Contacted Tuesday by The Associated Press, Cantwell acknowledged he had pepper-sprayed a counter demonstrator during an August 11 protest on the University of Virginia campus, a day before a deadly demonstration in Charlottesville.
He insisted he was defending himself, saying he did it “because my only other option was knocking out his teeth.” He said he looked forward to his day in court.
“I certainly wasn’t running around pepper spraying innocent people, like the communists who attacked us did,” he told NBC in an email.
Cantwell had been featured in a Vice program aired on HBO saying that he supports US President Donald Trump but not the fact that his daughter married a Jewish man, Jared Kushner.
He also said he did not regret protester Heather Heyer being killed in a car-ramming attack by a white nationalist and threatened more violence.
Days after the protest, Cantwell published a video on YouTube that showed him crying as he talked about the warrant for his arrest and being scared he might be killed if he turned himself in.