White nationalist makes first court appearance

Mugshot of Christopher Cantwell

Christopher Cantwell, a white nationalist from Keene, New Hampshire, made an initial appearance in Albemarle County General District Court.

He faces two counts of the illegal use of tear gas or other gases and one count of malicious bodily injury with a “caustic substance,” explosive or fire in connection with a torch-lit rally on the University of Virginia campus the night before the white nationalist rally.

Contacted by The Associated Press on Tuesday, Cantwell acknowledged he had pepper-sprayed a counter-demonstrator. But he insisted he was defending himself, saying he did it “because my only other option was knocking out his teeth.” He also said he was looking forward to his day in court.

UVA police said late Wednesday night that he had turned himself in.

Cantwell told a judge Thursday that he planned to hire his own attorney, The Daily Progress reported . The judge did not set a bond, but told Cantwell his attorney could request a bond hearing later.