CHARLOTTE, North Carolina — Police arrested a black man for a racially-charged arson attack on a North Carolina store in which a threatening note was left that was signed “White America.”
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department say they busted 32-year-old Curtis Flournoy on Sunday for the attack and charged him with ethnic intimidation, burning a commercial building and writing anonymous and threatening letters.
Police had previously said they were investigating the attack Thursday evening on Charlotte’s Central Market, which sells South Asian products, as a hate crime. Investigators said a rock had been thrown through the store’s window and a fire set in its entrance way which burned itself out by the time authorities arrived.
No one was hurt.
A note found at the scene stated that refugee business owners weren’t wanted and “that they would torture the owner if they did not leave and go back to where they came from,” police said. The note was signed “White America.”
The store’s owner, Kamal Dhimel, previously lived in Nepal and Bhutan before coming to the U.S. in 2010. He opened the store in 2014, selling goods from Nepal, India and Pakistan.
He told The Charlotte Observer that he hadn’t faced anti-immigrant attitudes in the U.S. before last week’s episode.
Police did not say what they believed Flournoy’s motive might have been. He has a long rap sheet with multiple arrests for drugs as well as damaging property and assaulting a government official. He is currently being held on $22,500 bond.