Christopher Cantwell is wanted in connection with crimes committed in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Cantwell, a known detractor of black and Jewish people, was one of the participants in the white nationalist rally held in protest of the removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee.
The Albemarle County Commonwealth Attorney’s Office has issued four warrants for Cantwell’s arrest, The New York Times reported on Monday. Cantwell says he is willing to turn himself in, and he thinks he understands to what the charges against him are related.
On Aug. 12, the protest started among nationalists who were fed up with the removal of Confederate monuments. A “VICE News Tonight” correspondent went behind the scenes with nationalist leaders, including Christopher Cantwell.
Within the footage taken by VICE, Cantwell reportedly made derogatory comments about black and Jewish people.
Now, when questioned about the possibility of his arrest, Cantwell said he believes the warrants revolve around an incident caught on camera. He says he was filmed “pepper-spraying a guy straight in his face as he’s coming toward me.”
Cantwell says he only had two options to defend himself and chose the less violent of the two.
“I thought that spraying that guy was the least damaging thing I could do,” Cantwell reportedly told the Times. “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.”
Officials at the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office of Albemarle County in Charlottesville referred questions about the nature of the charges against Cantwell to the University of Virginia Police Department. No one there has clarified the charges against Cantwell yet, but The Boston Globe believes it knows their nature. It reports that the warrants are related to the “illegal use of gases and injury by caustic agent or explosive.”
Cantwell said that if he does face the charges indicated by The Globe, he’s confident about the legal outcome.
“I don’t think I did anything wrong,” he reportedly said. “I’m looking forward to my day in court.”
Footage from VICE’s recording can be viewed below, as well as a YouTube video posted by Cantwell in which he discusses the possibility that arrest warrants were issued for him.
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