Charlottesville admits pepper-spraying a counter-protester, “in self-defence”
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Charlottesville admits pepper-spraying a counter-protester, “in self-defence”

Mr Cantwell and dozens of others took part in a torch-lit parade through the University of Virginia shouting racist, anti-Semitic and neo-Nazi slogans.

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Charlottesville admits pepper-spraying a counter-protester, “in self-defence”

Mr Cantwell and dozens of others took part in a torch-lit parade through the University of Virginia shouting racist, anti-Semitic and neo-Nazi slogans.

24 August 2017 Thursday 11:29
Charlottesville admits pepper-spraying a counter-protester, “in self-defence”

A white supremacist wanted by police over his role in violent clashes at a rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, has handed himself in.

Christopher Cantwell, from New Hampshire, faces charges of illegal tear gas use and malicious bodily injury.

He appeared in a Vice News documentary about the 11 August demonstration.

He has admitted pepper-spraying a counter-protester but says he did so in self-defence, according to US media.

Mr Cantwell and dozens of others took part in a torch-lit parade through the University of Virginia shouting racist, anti-Semitic and neo-Nazi slogans.

The far-right march had been organised to protest against the proposed removal of a statue of General Robert E Lee, who commanded the pro-slavery Confederate forces during the American Civil War.

But it descended into violence after the rally's supporters were confronted by anti-racism groups. A car driven by a man linked to white supremacists later ploughed through a crowd of counter-protesters and killed Heather Heyer.

Mr Cantwell, who is seen in the Vice documentary denouncing Jews and calling for an "ethno-state", appeared in a tearful YouTube video on 16 August asking for guidance about what to do in response to a police warrant against him.

"I want to be peaceful, I want to be law-abiding," he says.

On Wednesday, University of Virginia police said he had handed himself in and was taken into custody in Lynchburg.

Contacted by the Associated Press, Mr Cantwell said he pepper-sprayed a counter-protester "because my only other option was knocking out his teeth".

Police said he was being held on three charges - two counts of the illegal use of tear gas or other gases and one count of malicious bodily injury with a "caustic substance". If convicted, he could face several years in prison.

BBC

Updated: 25.08.2017 09:55
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