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Woman arrested for starting fire with a Pride flag screams “He is King!” in court

Woman caught on video setting fire to Pride flag outside Manhattan restaurant
Photo: Screenshot

The woman accused of setting fire to a Pride flag was sent to the back of the courtroom to calm down after multiple outbursts, which led the judge to order a mental evaluation to decide if she is fit to stand trial.

The woman, identified as 30-year-old Angelina Cando, was caught on video Monday morning igniting a Pride flag on outside a Manhattan restaurant. She was arrested and charged with multiple hate crimes.

The flag was hanging outside a restaurant called Little Prince, and the outside of the building sustained minor damage from the flames, according to a report from the New York Times. The inside of the building was not damaged. An employee was inside the restaurant at the time but was able to escape without injury. It took 60 firefighters from 12 different units to put the fire out.

Video of the incident shows Cando hopping out of a white SUV around 1:35 a.m., taking a lighter to the flag, and then jumping back into the vehicle’s passenger side before it drives away.

Cando has been charged with arson, criminal mischief, and reckless endangerment, all as hate crimes. She has also been charged with multiple counts graffiti for writing “Jesus” on a subway platform and “Jesus is King” on two police cars.

During her court appearance, Cando repeatedly interrupted the proceedings, yelling, “False accusations!” and “It’s all fake!… Let me free! He is King!” At one point, she also began ranting about her mom and stepdad, according to the New York Post.

According to the New York Daily News, this is Cando’s third arrest this month. On January 30, she was arrested for throwing a plate and glass at a 67-year-old relative, as well as hitting him with a guitar and squeezing his neck. On February 2, she was again arrested for threatening someone with a knife inside a pizzeria.

During the hearing, Cando’s attorney said she is likely experiencing a psychotic break because until this month, she had never been in trouble with the law.

Love Texidor, the superintendent of a building where Cando’s boyfriend lived, said Cando has a long history of homophobia.

In response to the footage of Cando lighting the Pride flag on fire, New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) tweeted, “New York will not allow blatant acts of hate against our communities.”

77-year-old Al DiRaffaele, a gay Vietnam War veteran who lives nearby, told the Times the fire was “a horrendous act” and that “It’s a slap in my face, along with every gay person in the world.”

“This is war here in America against the LGBT group,” he said.

The morning after the fire, gay City Councilman Erik Bottcher (D) – whose home was recently invaded by two women protesting his support of Drag Queen Story Hour – spearheaded the hanging of a bigger Pride flag in front of the restaurant as employees worked hard to clean the place up and prepare it for reopening.

“This flag is five times the size of the original flag,” Bottcher told reporters (before Cando had been arrested) as he climbed a ladder to hang the flag himself. “The person who did this, their plan has backfired and backfired badly.”

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