A drive-by arsonist set fire to a pride flag in an act of hate in New York on Monday, February 20th. The rainbow flag adorned with the words “Make America Gay Again” was flying in front of The Little Prince restaurant in the SoHo area of the city. There’s good video of the perpetrator with straight, burgundy dyed hair pulled back into a ponytail, getting out of a white Honda CRV (2020-2022 model), walking over quickly and lighting the flag on fire before hopping back into the passenger seat of the SUV while the driver speeds off. The fire burned much of the facade of the restaurant as well as the fire escape for the apartments above.
The fire started shortly after 1:35 am at the building on Prince street. According to officials, 12 Fire Department units and 60 firefighters and emergency medical responders in total were called in for the incident. Luckily, they were able to extinguish the fire before anyone was hurt and only the outside of the building was damaged, including some cracked windows.
“What we saw in the video was a hate crime,” Councilmember Erik Bottcher said in a statement to the press. “Someone who intended to strike fear into our entire community…Our resolve is only strengthened when acts like this happen.” Botcher helped show the solidarity of the community by putting up an even larger pride flag in front of the restaurant. “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.”
D and C Landscaping also stepped forward, donating their services and replacing the flowers hanging on the front of the restaurant. With the quick response of the community and workers getting the place back in shape, the restaurant was nearly ready to open later that same day.
The news of this incident is all over social media and with clear video of her face, the hateful arsonist will hopefully be caught and brought to justice fairly quickly.
If you have any information regarding this incident, please call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). You can also submit tips by logging onto the CrimeStoppers website at https://crimestoppers.nypdonline.org/ or on Twitter @NYPDTips. All calls are strictly confidential.