Let's see if Christopher Cantwell is smiling today when he spends time in a Charlottesville jail— Red T Raccoon (@RedTRaccoon) August 24, 2017
I have a feeling he's crying his eyes out pic.twitter.com/SQW9vIcahk
Christopher Cantwell became a well-known white nationalist figure nationwide after the Aug. 11 protest that predated the deadly Charlottesville demonstrations. Now, he's in jail.
Cantwell, who turned himself in after learning he was wanted for three felony charges, was denied bond Thursday.
He is being held for two counts of illegal use of tear gas or other gases and one count of malicious bodily injury while using a “caustic substance.”
After admitting he had pepper-sprayed a counter-demonstrator during the protest, he claimed he did what he did in self-defense. If he hadn't used the substance, he told reporters, his “only other option was knocking out his teeth.”
During the torch-lit march on the University of Virginia, Cantwell and countless others shouted anti-Semitic and Nazi-themed slogans. But in a Vice News documentary made by reporters who followed rally participants, Cantwell was seen doing more than just shouting racist chants.
In the film, he was shown pledging to “f***ing kill these people if we have to.”
Vice News also filmed the marcher showing off the weapons he had brought with him, which included a knife, rifles, and handguns.
After the documentary was unveiled, the man published a video to YouTube in which he cries and asks viewers what he should do now that he was being sought by the police. He later turned himself in and is now waiting for his Oct. 12 court appearance.
Although Cantwell said he acted in self-defense, getting rid of the stigma might be difficult for him after being caught on tape so openly ready to use deadly violence. Even if the court finds him not guilty, he might have a hard time getting any sort of sympathy from the public.
The University of Virginia and Charlottesville rallies have marked a difficult time for race discourse in America.
After President Donald Trump blamed the violence on “both sides,” many people said the president had shown support for the white nationalist cause. As groups condemn racism and urge all to do so, social media and tech companies are doing their part to fight hate online. Still, the growth of racist ideologies may continue.
It's times like these that we should be responding to displays of hate with even more love and solidarity to prove to white supremacists that their fear-induced ideologies will not win.
Banner and thumbnail image credit: Reuters/Alejandro Alvarez