A North Carolina man has been charged for his role in a fire at a controversial historic landmark last week after a peaceful protest over the death of George Floyd delved into chaos, authorities said Friday. Charles Anthony Pittman was charged with one count of maliciously damaging property owned or possessed by an institution receiving federal financial assistance for the May 30 incident at the Market House in Fayetteville, U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina said in a news release.
Prosecutors allege that during a peaceful protest in downtown Fayetteville, several residents set fire to the Market House—a controversial National Historic Landmark that was once used as a town hall and a slave market. As the demonstration began to turn violent Pittman was seen on a television news camera “showing a red gasoline container to the crowd” before pouring its contents throughout the second story of the building constructed in 1832, prosecutors said. Authorities added that earlier that day, Pittman used Facebook Live to scope historic structures and discussed whether Market House should “come down.” He also critiqued the inaction of the peaceful protesters, saying they would just “barbecue and mildew.”