A 19-year-old Tampa man has been arrested after police say he used a flamethrower to torch a Pan-African flag flying on a pole at the Uhuru House in St. Petersburg.
Kenny Jay Raymond was booked into the Pinellas County Jail on Thursday afternoon before being released on bond, according to jail records. He is facing a misdemeanor charge of criminal mischief, and police say they also have started the process of seeking a risk protection order on him.
No one was injured, but police say some palm trees near the flagpole also were set on fire.
The Uhuru House is the headquarters of the International Uhuru Movement. Burning Spear, a media organization affiliated with the group, released a security video that shows a man exiting a white Honda sedan, taking out a flamethrower and setting the flag ablaze, according to the Associated Press. When a worker shouted at him, he stowed the weapon back in the trunk of the Honda and drove away.
According to his arrest affidavit, Raymond said he set the flag on fire because he doesn’t like socialists and was upset about seeing the “ugly flag” every time he drove to or from work. Investigators say he also told them he had hoped someone at Uhuru House “would come out and shoot him because he did not want to live in this world with the all of the hate and division.”