ST. PETERSBURG, FL — A Tampa teenager used a flamethrower to set a flag on fire Saturday morning at the Uhuru House in St. Petersburg, according to an arrest affidavit.
Kenny Raymond, 19, set fire to the flag at the house, located at 1291 18th Ave. S., around 9:50 a.m. Police responded by 10:15 a.m., according to an earlier news release from St. Petersburg police.
He’s been charged with criminal mischief and police said damages were around $500.
Raymond told officers “that he did not like socialist(s) and did not like the ugly flag that he sees everyday when coming to and from his job, so he decided to burn it,” according to the affidavit. He works for Inter-Bay Electric Company, police said.
He also told police that he hoped someone with the Uhuru organization “would come out and shoot him because he did not want to live in this world with all of the hate and division,” the police report said.
The worldwide Uhuru Movement falls under the African People’s Socialist Party, “uniting African people as one people for liberation, social justice, self-reliance and economic development,” according to the organization’s website.
In a Facebook post, the African People’s Socialist Party USA said, “The Uhuru House in St. Petersburg, Florida has come under attack just days before the colonial 4th of July holiday. The African flag, adopted by our people more than 100 years ago, to represent our colonially dispersed African Nation was torched in broad daylight. These attacks are a consequence of the deepening crisis of colonial capitalism.”
The organization also shared surveillance video of Raymond setting the flag on fire, which can be viewed here.