LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Witnesses say a man accused of arson in connection with a massive fire that destroyed the Da Vinci apartments was angry over police killings of black people, according to a published report.

During a pretrial hearing Tuesday, witnesses said Dawud Abdulwali was angry about the shooting of Michael Brown by a Ferguson police officer, the Los Angeles Times reported.

READ MORE: High-Speed Pursuit Of Suspected Stolen Vehicle Ends On 101 Freeway In Camarillo With Driver In Custody

One man testified he saw the defendant at a party a week after the fire.

He told the court: “He was mad … he burned the building … he didn’t like the way the cops were killing black people,” according to the Times.

READ MORE: Laraine Newman, Original "Saturday Night Live" Cast Member, Testifies In Robert Durst Trial

The Dec. 7, 2014 fire at the 1.3-million-square-foot Da Vinci apartments, located at 900 West Temple Street, destroyed the 7-story complex under construction.

The fire caused $100 million in damage as heat whipped across the 110 Freeway and busted out windows at nearby buildings. To many, it looked like all of downtown was on fire.

Police arrested Abdulwali during a traffic stop in May of 2015. He has pleaded not guilty to arson.

MORE NEWS: Palm Springs Records 1st Rain On June 23 In More Than 100 Years

The hearing is expected to resume Wednesday.