A witness has testified that the man charged with sparking an inferno that destroyed an unfinished Los Angeles apartment building bragged about the blaze at a party and was angry about high-profile police killings of African-Americans.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the testimony came Tuesday during a preliminary hearing in the arson case against Dawud Abdulwali. The 57-year-old is accused of starting a 2014 fire that gutted a seven-story complex and damaged adjacent downtown office towers.

The witness, Popaul Tshimanga, says he and Abdulwali attended a party a week later. Tshimanga says Abdulwali ranted about the August 2014 killing of Michael Brown, an unarmed black man, by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri.

The witness testified that Abdulwali also said he burned the building.