Society and Culture

White Nationalist Christopher Cantwell Wanted by UVA Police

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A white nationalist wanted for crimes committed on the University of Virginia’s campus during the deadly Charlottesville rally says he’ll turn himself into authorities–but doesn’t seem to be in any hurry to do so.

Christopher Cantwell of Keene, New Hampshire is wanted by University of Virginia police on three felony charges: two felony counts of illegal use of tear gas, phosgene, and other gases and one felony count of malicious bodily injury with a “caustic substance,” explosive, or fire.

During a phone interview with the Associated Press Tuesday evening, Cantwell acknowledged he had pepper-sprayed a counter demonstrator during an August 11 protest, but insisted he was defending himself, saying he did it “because my only other option was knocking out his teeth.”

Cantwell, who was featured in the viral VICE News documentary on the white nationalist “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, said he had been trying for days to find out about any outstanding warrants he may have. When asked about when he would turn himself in, Cantwell told the AP that it would be done in the “most appropriate and safe manner possible” in the next 24 hours, “likely much sooner than that,” and that he looked forward to his day in court.

However, in a blog post published Tuesday, Cantwell said he had left the state of Virginia “on the public request from a police spokesperson,” and that he is staying nearby to “monitor the situation and make turning myself in easier when the time came.”

He wrote:

I contacted an attorney, but he dropped my case right around the time I read in the Boston Globe that I had two felony charges (one of which is a class 3) for what I presumed was pepper spraying a guy in a brawl at UVA (which the reds started). After a bit of struggle, I did find another suitable attorney who said he would contact the VA authorities on Monday morning to find out the truth. […] Both attorneys I talked to said that I was due all the privileges and immunities of a citizen until I was “served” with a warrant, so I don’t believe I am committing any crime by waiting for more information before I return home or to Virginia. So that is what I am doing right now.

As a right-wing shock jock on his podcast Radical Agenda, Cantwell has made a career out of glorifying his racism. While being interviewed by VICE correspondent Elle Reeve, Cantwell called Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and Tamir Rice “little black a**hole(s) behaving like a savage(s),” made anti-Semitic comments toward Ivanka Trump’s husband Jared Kushner, and said Heather Heyer’s death was “justified.”

Following Governor Terry McAuliffe’s decision to issue a state of emergency in response to the violent rally, Cantwell posted a video of himself to YouTube in which he cried over potential warrants for his arrest.

In almost five minute clip, an emotional Cantwell says: “If I have to go to jail today, it won’t be the first time…I don’t want to, I don’t think I should…I’ve been engaged in violence… and I’ve done nothing to hide that, but it was done in defense of myself and others.”

He also attempted to justify his actions during the rally, claiming that he felt like it was “necessary to stop threats before they got out of hand” and had he had his pistol on him he would have stayed far away from the “melee.”

As of Wednesday afternoon, Cantwell still has not turned himself in to the authorities, and it’s unclear how long the white nationalist will continue to drag out his legal saga.

Alexis Evans
Alexis Evans is an Assistant Editor at Law Street and a Buckeye State native. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and a minor in Business from Ohio University. Contact Alexis at aevans@LawStreetMedia.com.

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