White nationalist from Keene has yet to turn himself inBy KEVIN LANDRIGAN
New Hampshire Union Leader
August 18. 2017 11:05PM
Cantwell said on his website updated Friday that he did pepper-spray a rival protester but only in self defense.
“I did pepper spray one person, using the pepper spray that I always keep on my key chain. I made no secret of this, in part because I was certain my actions were lawful. I even made one journalist’s photo of the spraying my Facebook cover photo,” Cantwell wrote.
“In that photo, you can see clearly that I am spraying directly in the eyes of a man who is coming directly toward me, while another approached from my left. I believe I had already seen this man strike at least one other person in my group, and I thought (he) was a threat to my safety.”
Officials with the Albemarle County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office confirmed Friday they have four warrants outstanding for Cantwell. A call to the University of Virginia Police Department was not immediately returned.
Cantwell said on his blog he believed two of the warrants were for illegal use of gases and injury by caustic agent or explosive, both felonies.
“I sprayed in self defense, while holding a flashlight in my left hand. In my mind, this was the minimal level of force I could use to deter this threat,” Cantwell recalled. “The other option was to hit him with the hand that my flashlight was in, which would have obviously caused more damage than the pepper spray.”
And Cantwell questioned why authorities were pursuing him and not those in the anti-white-nationalist camp, who he claimed assaulted the white nationalists.
“If the matter wasn’t so serious, I might find it laughable,” Cantwell observed. “I had been maced twice in Charlottesville. Once at UVA, and once a couple of blocks from Lee Park. To my knowledge, nobody is being sought for the assaults that I suffered.”
Cantwell did not answer telephone calls to his cellphone Friday afternoon for further comment.
The prominent militant activist fought with counter protesters last weekend when the Virginia rally turned violent.
In a tearful online video post earlier this week, Cantwell addressed the warrants for his arrest and why he had yet to turn himself in.
“But with everything going on I don’t think it is wise to be going anywhere,” Cantwell says. “It’s a state of emergency here, the National Guard is here, I don’t think (it’s) a good idea for me to go there frankly.”
A well-known figure involved in libertarian causes in the Monadnock Region, Cantwell says he reached out for guidance, contacting Lt. Steven C. Tenney Jr. of the Keene Police Department, an officer with whom Cantwell had had prior dealings. In a statement Friday afternoon, Keene police said Tenney in his professional capacity advised Cantwell to surrender to police and contact a lawyer.
“Lt. Tenney, a widely respected veteran member of the KPD, maintained a professional relationship with Mr. Cantwell that was solely for KPD purposes as directed by his chain of command in the interest of public safety, as well as the safety of our officers and the greater Law Enforcement community,” police said.