Jason Stokes, a New York firefighter, was arrested earlier this month for allegedly setting his own home on fire — a crime that was initially blamed on Black Lives Matter. Last week he posted $10,000 bail.
On Aug. 10 about 2:30 am, firefighters responded to a fire at Stokes’ home in Endicott, New York. Stokes’ wife and two teenage children were home at the time. The message “Lie with pigs, fry like bacon” was found on the wall. The first floor of the house was damaged, Time Warner Cable News reported.
Stokes was charged with second-degree arson. If convicted, he could face 25 years in prison.
Stokes initially alleged that an arsonist or arsonists must have taken issue with a Blue Lives Matter flag he had outside his home. The message “Lie with pigs, fry like bacon” appears to be in reference to an August 2015 protest, at which time Black Lives Matter protesters chanted, “Pigs in a blanket, fry them like bacon” at the Minnesota State Fair.
Blue Lives Matter is an organization that supports law enforcement members and their families. It is run by active and retired law enforcement officers. The movement was inspired largely by Darren Wilson, a former Ferguson police officer who fatally shot Michael Brown in August 2014.
Blue Lives Matter published a story on its website after the fire that seemed to cast the blame on Black Live Matter “terrorists.” According to the story, Stokes and his family were “specifically targeted in a hate crime against law enforcement,” and the spray painted message “suggests that the suspect was actually trying to murder the occupants of the residence.”
The story continues:
“Supporters for groups like Black Lives Matter have been trying to intimidate law enforcement and their supporters. This is the first case that we know of, outside of a riot, where an arson targeted somebody specifically for supporting law enforcement. These criminals are trying to intimidate us into backing down so that they can push their agenda without resistance.
“We will continue to fly our flags and defy these terrorists who are attacking law enforcement.”
Blue Lives Matter has not yet issued a statement on its website since Stokes’ arrest two weeks ago.
Broome County District Attorney Steve Cornwell at a press conference described an “obstacle course” Stokes set up with gas cans.
“It is also alleged that there were gas cans, full gas cans, and other containers full of flammable material placed throughout the home as if it were, would be, an obstacle course to get around them,” Cornwell said.
“As [firefighters] entered the house they were unaware of the canisters of gasoline, which had been placed around the house,” he added. Cornwell refused to repeat the phrase spray painted on the wall but he confirmed that the graffiti was in fact present. He said he could not “speak to a motive at this time.”
Stokes was a suspect from the beginning, Endicott Fire Chief Joseph Griswold said, but that’s not unusual in arson cases.
“We knew fairly soon into the investigation that he was a suspect, but that’s not uncommon in any fire. You always have to look at the people who live there,” Griswold said.
But Stokes’ arrest on Dec. 1 left Griswold and other fellow firefighters “very disappointed.” The Endicott Fire Department will no longer help with the investigation.
“Both the police and fire departments wanted to distance ourselves from the investigation, so that it could be conducted without any bias. I mean, we all knew him,” said Griswold.
Black Lives Matter has been blamed for other crimes that were actually at the hands of the believed victims. In October, the wife of a police officer faked a robbery and vandalism at her home and blamed the entire fabricated crime on Black Lives Matter. She then took to social media to question the “hatred for no reason,” escalating the incident from a simple money scam to a racially motivated incident. Daly also took it one step further when she tagged her house with graffiti that said “BLM.”
“If you would have asked me yesterday about this blue lives and black lives matter issue my response would have been very positive,” Daly wrote on Facebook. “Today on the other hand I have so much anger and hate that I don’t like myself.”