The suspect who set a pride flag ablaze that was hanging outside of a Manhattan restaurant early this week has been arrested and charged.
At around 1:35 a.m. Monday, security camera footage showed a woman jumping out of a white SUV in front of Little Prince on Prince Street, and then pulling out a lighter and setting fire to the rainbow flag hanging outside. The woman then ran back into the passenger side of the SUV, which drove west on Prince Street.
The woman in question, Angelina Cando, was arrested Tuesday and charged with arson, criminal mischief and reckless endangerment — all as hate crimes.
City Councilman Erik Bottcher of Manhattan helped replace the flag Monday morning and said, “The person who did this, their plan has backfired and backfired badly.”
“What we saw in the video was a hate crime,” Bottcher continued. “Someone who intended to strike fear into our entire community.”
Officials say twelve Fire Department units and 60 firefighters and emergency medical responders were involved in putting out the fire. Luckily, no one was injured, and the fire caused minor damage to the facade of Little Prince and none to the interior. Little Prince was closed at the time of the incident but an employee was inside of the restaurant and quickly called 911.
“To be a part of it, and to witness it, and to work here and to have that happen, like this is my job,” the employee told ABC 7. “This is where I make money and this is also where I have a home. So to have that taken away, I’m confused and I’m hurt, and I don’t know how to feel about it.”
Al DiRaffaele, a 77-year-old neighbor, gay man, and Vietnam veteran, told The New York Times the fire was “a horrendous act.”
“Picking on a flag, you know, there’s no reason for that,” he continued. “It affects me, being a gay man. It’s a slap in my face, along with every gay person in the world.”
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