Christopher Cantwell, one of the most infamous neo-Nazis who marched in the streets of Charlottesville two weeks ago, was booked into a local jail on Thursday for allegedly pepper spraying counter-protesters. But if it had been up to local law enforcement, Cantwell, who openly promised violence against counter-protesters, would still be roaming free.
Police did not seek the arrest warrants against Cantwell, who was seen in videos of the so-called “United the Right” rally chanting slogans like “Jews will not replace us” and “blood and soil.” They were instead issued by a local magistrate after two activists swore that he injured them with a caustic agent. The warrants were not the result of any investigation by state police, University of Virginia police, or Charlottesville, The Daily Beast found.
Cantwell, who posted a video of himself crying out of fear for his life after the rally, is only the second white supremacist arrested for his violent activities during the rally. The other, James A. Fields, is in custody after being charged with murder in the death of 32-year-old Heather Heyer.
Police officers present at the August 12 rally have also come under heavy criticism for their response to the event, which apparently involved both standing idly by as injured counter-protesters begged for help and failing to make an arrest in the brutal beating of Deandre Harris, a black 20-year-old and Charlottesville resident, who was assaulted by white supremacists next to a police station.