An Endicott, New York firefighter was charged with setting fire to his own home and trying to pin the blame on the Black Lives Matter protest movement, the county district attorney announced Tuesday.
41-year-old Jason Stokes pleaded not guilty to arson charges in connection with the August blaze. Stokes’ wife and children were upstairs sleeping when he supposedly set the fire, complete with a series of rigged “booby traps” like cans filled with flammable objects and gasoline.
Written on the house at the time of the fire was the words, “Lie with pigs, fry like bacon,” likely intended to be taken as a reference to the flag outside the house with the phrase “Blue Lives Matter,” a popular rejoinder to the Black Lives Matter movement.
Broome County District Attorney Steve Cornwall told reporters that he was aware of the message and believes that it was written by Stokes. “That statement to me is absolutely despicable,” he said. “It fuels a false narrative when it comes to the work that police officers do.”
Still, Cornwall decline to speculate about a potential motive. “We don’t need to show a motive, we need to show intent,” he said.
Watch above, via the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin.
[Image via New York State Police]