The woman behind the arson of West Village bistro Little Prince's pride flag is facing hate crime charges.
The restaurant’s surveillance video shows a white SUV arriving at Little Prince at 1:30 AM on February 20, from which a woman, later identified as Angelina Cando, got out and set the storefront’s Pride flag ablaze with a lighter.
Flames spread to the apartment above, requiring twelve Fire Department units and 60 firefighters and emergency responders to extinguish it. Surveillance footage spread across social media. City Councilor to the West Village, Chelsea and Hell's Kitchen Erik Bottcher, an openly gay man, posted the video to Twitter calling for constituents to report any related information to a Crime Stoppers tip line.
\u201cHate in SoHo: Last night this person set fire to the pride flag hanging outside Little Prince restaurant, causing the front of the restaurant to go up in flames. Anyone with info on this should call the Crime Stoppers tip line at 800-577-TIPS.\u00a0\n\nAt 11AM we will re-hang the flag.\u201d— NYC Council Member Erik Bottcher (@NYC Council Member Erik Bottcher) 1676906622
Cando was identified and arrested by the police the following day on the Lower East Side and is facing multiple hate crime charges including arson, criminal mischief and reckless endangerment. It's unclear if the driver of the vehicle will face charges as well.
For Little Prince, a neighborhood staple, the response of the community has been supportive, and the flag was re-hung later that day. Councilman Erik Bottcher, who hung the new, larger flag, tweeted after Cando’s arrest speaking out against hate crimes against the LGBTQ community and other marginalized groups and thanking the NYPD for Cando’s swift arrest.
\u201cThank you to @NYPDnews for the swift apprehension of the person who set fire the pride flag and Little Prince restaurant. Anyone who is contemplating attacks against the LGBTQ community, or any marginalized group, should know they will be held accountable. https://t.co/uDOULltYRJ\u201d— NYC Council Member Erik Bottcher (@NYC Council Member Erik Bottcher) 1677071366
In New York City, hate crimes have been on the rise, with an end-of-year report revealing a 76% increase in reported hate-related violence from 2021 to 2022. Little Prince is at least the second restaurant to be targeted by an arsonist in recent years, with famed sommelier Caleb Ganzer caught on camera having set fire to the outdoor dining area of Prince Street Pizza in 2021, later reaching a settlement agreement in 2022.
Neighbors are chiming in to show support for Little Prince as it undergoes repairs for re-opening, and the restaurant is still proudly flying its Pride flag.
Photo via Shutterstock