If you haven't seen it by now, the recent Vice News documentary on the tragic, despicable events in Charlottesville is a must watch. Viewers can learn a lot about how hateful some people around America are, and just how far we have to go to make true progress in this country.
One of the white supremacists at the center of that video, 36-year-old former drug dealer Christopher Cantwell, is finding out there are consequences to being a hateful bigot, especially when you're caught on camera. University of Virginia police are now pursuing three felony charges for Cantwell's involvement in the white supremacist rally: two counts of illegal use of teargas or other gases, and one count of malicious bodily injury with a caustic substance, explosive, or fire.
According to the Associated Press, Cantwell is prepared to turn himself in to authorities, and has already acknowledged pepper-spraying a counter-protestor during a confrontation on Aug. 11. He is reportedly denying blame, however, claiming it was his only method of self defense.
"My only other option was knocking out his teeth," said Cantwell.
This is a pretty stark departure from the last we saw of Cantwell. After he was shown on camera in the Vice documentary claiming, "We'll fucking kill these people if we have to," Cantwell released a video of his own, blubbering like a baby about how afraid he claimed to be in the aftermath.
"I want to be peaceful," said Cantwell. "I want to be law abiding, okay? I’m armed. I do not want violence with you. I’m terrified, I’m afraid you’re going to kill me. I really am." Cantwell can't seem to keep his story straight here—is he a man to be feared or someone in fear of everyone around him? In any case, he's not likely to get much sympathy from the law, given his history as a former drug dealer.
There's no word yet on when exactly he'll turn himself in, but this is a small victory in the fight against white supremacy. Charlottesville is standing firm in the face of people like Cantwell, and that feels good to say.