A New York City woman has been arrested and charged with several hate crimes after she allegedly lit a pride flag on fire and then defaced two NYPD patrol vehicles.
Early Monday morning, Angelina Cando, a 30- or 35-year-old woman with a Manhattan address, supposedly went on a bit of a crime spree. At around 1:30 a.m., Cando allegedly exited a white vehicle parked on Prince Street near MacDougal Street and set fire to a pride flag which was hanging outside the Little Prince restaurant. She then climbed back into the passenger side of the vehicle, which immediately sped away.
Fortunately, no one was injured in the incident, though the fire did cause some minor damage to the exterior of the building. An employee had been inside the restaurant at the time the fire was lit and immediately 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 unnamed employee said. "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."
According to police, Cando's criminal behavior that night did not end with burning the flag. Afterward, she supposedly scrawled the phrase "Jesus is King" on the back of two police cruisers parked on Varick Street between Ericson Place and North Moore Street, less than a mile from the Little Prince, though how police connected her to the graffiti incidents is unclear.
On Tuesday, Cando was arrested and charged with arson, criminal mischief, and reckless endangerment, all as hate crimes, WABC reported, marking her third arrest of the year. She was arrested for assault in January and for menacing earlier this month, according to the New York Post. The status of those charges remains unclear.
Meanwhile, a new pride flag has already been installed at the restaurant, and a local landscaping company replaced the damaged flowers outside the building for free.
"Our resolve is only strengthened when acts like this happen," said Erik Bottcher, a member of City Council District 3. "We are standing up in the face of this hate and reasserting our pride in ourselves and our community. That's why we hung the flag again."
Bottcher, who identifies as gay, has been an activist for the so-called LGBTQ community since at least 2009. His biography states that he serves as "a member of the Progressive Caucus and the LGBTQ+ Caucus" of the New York City Council.
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