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White nationalist spotlighted in Charlottesville march arrested in Leesburg for intoxication

Christopher Cantwell was arrested for public swearing and intoxication in Leesburg. The self-proclaimed white nationalist was featured in a Vice News documentary about the deadly Charlottesville rally in 2017. (Vice News Tonight via AP, File)

LEESBURG, Va. — A self-described white nationalist who was arrested in the lead-up to last summer’s Unite the Right march in Charlottesville has been arrested for public swearing and intoxication in Leesburg.

Christopher Cantwell was arrested on March 31, according to Leesburg police spokesman Sam Shenouda, who said an officer observed Cantwell stumbling while trying to cross the street in the 500 block of East Market Street.

“After making contact with Mr. Cantwell, the officer observed signs of intoxication and smelled a strong odor of alcohol,” Shenouda said.

Cantwell was arrested and transported to the Loudoun County jail, where he was ordered by a magistrate to be held until sober. He was released on his own recognizance.

The 37-year-old Cantwell gained notoriety for his participation in a Peabody award-winning Vice News report in which he espoused establishment of an “ethno-state” and said the death of counter-protester Heather Heyer “was more than justified.”

Cantwell has been out on bond after being arrested for illegal use of tear gas during a torch-lit rally at University of Virginia, the night before the Aug. 12, 2017 Unite the Right rally in downtown Charlottesville.

Shenouda said Cantwell was not “at this time” being investigated in connection with KKK literature distributed throughout Loudoun County,

“It’s important to note that we previously reported that the distribution of KKK flyers is not illegal,” Shenouda said.

Loudoun County Sheriff spokesman Kraig Troxell said his agency had considered the possibility of Cantwell’s involvement with the flyers,  before his Leesburg arrest.

“Detectives with the Loudoun Sheriff’s Office investigating the distribution of KKK flyers in the county looked into the subject and there was no indication he was involved in those cases,” Troxell said.

It is not clear whether Albemarle officials will seek to modify Cantwell’s bond, in light of his Leesburg arrest. Commonwealth’s Attorney Robert Tracci did not immediately respond to an emailed question.

Cantwell’s adjudicatory hearing in Loudoun County District Court is set for June 26.

Christopher Cantwell was featured in this Vice News report entitled “Charlottesville: Race and Terror


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