A New York firefighter pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to allegedly torching his own house and then spray-painting an anti-police message on the side in an attempt to blame the fire on Black Lives Matter activists.
When Jason Stokes' home in Endicott, New York burned down in August, a family member said that they believed he was being targeted for flying a "Blue Lives Matter" flag, local station WBNG reported. The message "lie with pigs, smell like bacon" was found written on the house.
Responding firefighters found multiple gas cans arranged throughout the house to create an "obstacle course," Broome County District Attorney Steve Cornwell said in a news conference. Stokes allegedly set the fire while his wife and two teenage daughters slept inside the house. They were not hurt in the blaze.
After a lengthy investigation, Stokes was charged with felony arson. Cornwell said he believes the firefighter wrote the anti-cop message to cover up the crime.
"That statement to me is absolutely despicable," Cornwell told the station. "It fuels a false narrative when it comes to the work that police officers do."
The line Stokes allegedly wrote on his home was apparently a reference to an August 2015 incident where some protesters chanted, "pigs in a blanket, fry them like bacon" at the Minnesota State Fair, which prompted a massive freakout in the conservative media.
If Stokes did write the ham-fisted attempt to recreate an anti-police brutality protest chant, he'd be joining a long, storied line of dumb white people who played themselves in an effort to foist blame on people of color.