White supremacist who helped organize 2017 Charlottesville marches arrested

Christopher Cantwell (File photo)

White supremacist Christopher Cantwell has been arrested and charged with sending an extortionate and threatening interstate message, according to the FBI office in Boston.

Cantwell was one of the organizers of the hate-filled marches through Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017. He was featured in a Vice documentary that showed him and dozens of others marching with torches and chanting “Jews will not replace us” and “White lives matter,” along with other racist slogans.

They were protesting a Charlottesville City Council plan to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from a park. The rallies turned violent and a white supremacist murdered a woman and injured many other people by driving his car into them.

Cantwell became known as the “Crying Nazi” after Charlottesville. In the documentary, he was brash and defiant, but he appeared tearful in a separate Facebook video made the same weekend, saying he might be arrested.

In 2018, he pleaded guilty to assault and battery in connection to his use of pepper spray during the rally.

According to the indictment filed Wednesday, Cantwell is accused of threatening someone via the Telegram messaging app last June. Since Charlottesville, many neo-Nazi and white supremacist chatrooms and online forums have been shut down and many have flocked to the Telegram app, which offers more encryption and security.

“The defendant sent an instant message through the Telegram Messenger app to Victim 1 stating, ‘So if you don’t want me to come and f**k your wife in front of your kids, then you should make yourself scarce,'” it is alleged in the indictment.

Cantwell is expected to be arraigned in the new case Thursday afternoon, said Joseph Cafarelli of the US Attorney’s Office in New Hampshire. The federal defenders’ office in Concord said it expected to represent Cantwell Thursday. CNN left a message with the attorney said to be handling the case but has not heard back.

Cantwell is one of more than two dozen people still facing a lawsuit for their alleged roles in organizing the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville. Cantwell has denied the claims and he recently quoted Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” in a court filing in that case.

By Mallory Simon, CNN

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