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Before Chris Cantwell was leading white nationalist riots, he was a “difference maker.”
Cantwell, a white nationalist, gained attention when he was featured in a Vice documentary on the violent Charlottesville, Virginia, protests. He then gained national attention when he posted an emotional video of himself crying over a warrant being issued for his arrest. However, neither were Cantwell’s first time in front of the camera.
In 2014, the Unite the Right spokesman was featured in a segment of Stephen Colbert’s Colbert Report. The skit was titled “Difference Makers,” and it focused on three residents, including Cantwell, who were on a mission to “Robin Hood,” or the act of putting coins in parking meters before law enforcement gets to the vehicle, for the greater good. The Keen, New Hampshire, natives can be seen in the clip harassing meter maids, and not allowing them to do their job.
“These brave patriots are fighting back… against government overreach,” Colbert said.
In the video, Cantwell showed off his gun, and was mockingly labeled “the enforcer” in the Free Keen Squad, the name they gave themselves. The enforcer and his squad could be seen following meter maids on the street while telling them that nobody liked them. The squad even led an Iraq War veteran to quit his job after enduring yearlong harassment from the squad.
“OK, granted, these guys are assholes, but they are assholes for freedom,” Colbert said over the clip.
Cantwell wrote in a blog post that he knew the company would make them look ridiculous when he signed the waiver. According to Cantwell, he wasn’t part of the Keen Squad, but supported it. He said he tagged along due to recent acts of violence that made him want to protect his friends while they were Robin Hooding.
His past words come as a haunting surprise. Today Cantwell is wanted for arrest on two warrants, both stemming from the riot. The felony charges are due to his illegal use of gasses and injury by explosives. For someone who used to worry about violence, it seems like he’s now causing it.
H/T Raw Story
Vanna Vasquez is a former intern at the Daily Dot whose work focused on viral news, politics, and YouTube. A graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, she has also published bylines with BuzzFeed.