Christopher Cantwell, White Nationalist, Surrenders to the Police

The New York Times/August 24, 2017

By Matt Stevens and Frances Robles

A white nationalist whose behavior at the violent gatherings this month in Charlottesville, Va., brought him notoriety after he appeared in a widely viewed documentary remained held without bond on Thursday, one day after the police said he had turned himself in to the authorities in Virginia.

The man, Christopher Cantwell, 36, was charged with two felony counts of illegal use of tear gas and one felony count of malicious bodily injury by means of a caustic substance, the Albemarle County prosecutor, Robert Tracci, said in a statement. A preliminary hearing was set for Oct. 12.

The police said the warrants stemmed from a torch-lit march on university grounds the night of Aug. 11; the demonstration preceded a large rally the next day in which a 32-year-old woman was killed after someone drove into a crowd.

In a statement released late Wednesday, the university police said they had been notified that afternoon that Mr. Cantwell had turned himself in to the Lynchburg Police Department in Virginia. The brief statement did not say when Mr. Cantwell turned himself in.

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He was being held at the Blue Ridge Regional Jail in Lynchburg, Va., pending transport to Charlottesville, the university police said.

In interviews last week, Mr. Cantwell said he would turn himself in to the authorities if necessary. He did not respond to an email early Wednesday evening from The New York Times; an attempt to reach him by phone was also unsuccessful.

Mr. Cantwell, a self-described white nationalist, emerged as a high-profile activist for the so-called alt-right after being featured in a Vice News documentary that has been viewed more than 44 million times since it was broadcast on Aug. 14.

n it, Mr. Cantwell is shown calling for an “ethno-state” and saying that the death of the woman, Heather D. Heyer, was justified. “I think that a lot more people are going to die before we’re done here,” he added.

Mr. Cantwell posted a video on Aug. 12 in which he choked back tears and was widely mocked by his critics for appearing scared of being arrested.

In interviews last week, Mr. Cantwell said that he believed that any charges he would face would be connected to an episode he said was photographed by a journalist that showed him “pepper-spraying a guy straight in his face as he’s coming toward me.”

“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. O.K.? And I didn’t want to do that. I just wanted him to not hurt me.”

“I don’t think I did anything wrong,’’ he said, “and I’m looking forward to my day in court.”

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