A WHITE NATIONALIST who was wanted by police over his role in violence at a rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, has turned himself in.
Campus police at the University of Virginia said that Christopher Cantwell of Keene, New Hampshire, was taken into custody at the police department in Lynchburg, Virginia.
Cantwell was wanted in relation to three felony charges: two counts of the illegal use of tear gas or other gasses and one count of malicious bodily injury with a “caustic substance”, explosive or fire.
Cantwell was one of hundreds of white nationalists who took part in a demonstration which turned violent in Charlottesville earlier this month.
He featured in a widely viewed Vice documentary of the events, where he can be seen denouncing Jews and calling for an “ethno-state”.
When contacted by AP, Cantwell acknowledged he had pepper-sprayed a counter demonstrator during a protest the night before the violence erupted 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.
White nationalists, white supremacists, neo-nazis and members of the Ku Klux Klan all descended on Charlottesville to protest against the removal of a statue of confederate general Robert E Lee.
The demonstration became violent when protesters and counter-protesters clashed on the streets of the city. This culminated in a car driven by a man with white supremacist connections plowing into counter-protesters and killing young woman Heather Heyer.
A brief university police statement says Cantwell was being held at a regional jail in Lynchburg pending transport to Charlottesville. It wasn’t immediately known if Cantwell has a lawyer.
With reporting from Cormac Fitzgerald