The “Crying Nazi” faces up to 22 years in prison. You have to make a lot of bad decisions in life for the local newspaper to write that sentence about you—and that’s exactly what Chris Cantwell has done.
The New Hampshire far-right radio host came to Charlottesville for the 2017 Unite the Right rally, where he was filmed by Vice chanting “Jews will not replace us” as he marched down the UVA Lawn with a tiki-torch wielding mob. Later that night, he pepper sprayed protesters at the base of the Jefferson statue, which eventually earned him two misdemeanor assault and battery charges and a five-year ban from the state of Virginia.
Soon after the rally, Cantwell uploaded a video of himself tearily proclaiming his innocence, earning him the above-mentioned nickname.
This time around, he’s been found guilty of extortion and interstate threats. In 2019, Cantwell sent online messages in which he threatened to rape another neo-Nazi’s wife if that neo-Nazi didn’t reveal the identity of a third neo-Nazi who had remained anonymous at the time.
In an interview with C-VILLE in 2017—conducted from his cell at the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail—Cantwell offered a comment that looks positively prophetic in hindsight. “I’m a shock jock. I offend people professionally,” he said. “If we’re going to talk about all the nasty things I said on the internet, we’re going to be here for a while.”
Justice for Breonna
After several months of investigation, a grand jury indicted former Louisville police detective Brett Hankison last Wednesday for endangering the neighbors of Breonna Taylor during a botched no-knock raid—but did not charge the two officers who shot and killed the 26-year-old Black emergency-room technician in her own home.
Just hours after the announcement, more than 100 Charlottesville residents gathered on the Belmont Bridge in solidarity with Louisville, demanding justice for Taylor through the defunding and abolishing of police.
The crowd toted homemade signs and joined in chants led by organizer Ang Conn, as passing cars honked in support. A few protesters blocked the bridge with cars and cones, allowing everyone to move off the sidewalk and into the road for more chants and speeches from Black attendees.
Protesters marched down Market Street to the front of the Charlottesville Police Department, which had its doors locked and appeared to be empty, with no cops in sight.
“Say her name—Breonna Taylor,” chanted the crowd. “No justice, no peace—abolish the police.”
Quote of the week
“We have to do something. It’s not creating more data we already know. It’s not providing more funding to the police department. It’s not waiting to see how it plays out in court. …It’s rare for police to be held accountable.”
—community organizer Ang Conn calling for justice for Breonna Taylor during a protest held by Defund Cville Police
In recent weeks, anti-racist activists have spotted dozens of stickers promoting the white supremacist, neo-Nazi group Patriot Front on or near the Downtown Mall and the Corner, as well as near the Lee and Jackson statues, reports Showing Up for Racial Justice. The activists urge anyone who sees a sticker to document its location, use a sharp object to remove it, and tell others where they saw it. If, however, you see someone putting up a sticker, the group advises against approaching the person if you are alone—instead, discreetly take a photo and alert others of the incident.
PC: Charlottesville Showing Up for Racial Justice
Jumped the gun
In case it wasn’t already clear what kind of operation Republican congressional candidate Bob Good was running, last weekend the Liberty University administrator held a “God, Guns, and a Good time” rally in Fluvanna County. Fliers for the event advertised a raffle with an AR-15 as the top prize. Good’s campaign now denies any affiliation with the raffle, reports NBC29, as holding a raffle to benefit a political campaign violates Virginia gambling and election laws.
The Charlottesville Police Civilian Review Board continues to meet obstacles in its years-long quest to provide oversight for local policing. Last week, just three months after the first meeting, board member Stuart Evans resigned. In his resignation letter, Evans declared the body was “fundamentally flawed,” and that the city’s refusal to give the board any real power led to his resignation. “I refuse to help the City clean up its image by peddling fictions of progress,” he wrote.