Two Teens Set Mentally Ill Man On Fire; If Races Were Reversed It Would Be A National Story

Close-Up Of Fire - stock photo
Kowit Choopun/EyeEm via Getty Images

Two black teens have been charged with assault and arson in connection to the brutal death of a mentally ill white man in Rochester, New York.

The two reportedly sneaked into the home of the man on Friday afternoon, sprayed him with an ignitable fluid and set him on fire until 70% of his body was covered in second and third-degree burns.

A man, identified as either a mail carrier or a gas and electric worker, burst into the apartment to try to put out the burning man, who was apparently left to die. By the time the 911 call was made and police arrived, it was too late. The victim fought for his life for four days in a burn trauma unit before he passed.

The story was reported by local station WHAM 13 News, but the races of the individuals involved were not specified.

Rochester journalist and radio host Bob Lonsberry made the races public and highlighted the double-standard in news coverage that has contributed to the deterioration of Rochester, a city engulfed in an at-times violent campaign against police officers over alleged racism.

Citing law enforcement sources, Lonsberry reports that the teens instructed the victim during the incident to tell authorities that it was two white men who perpetrated the crime.

A police source confirmed Lonsberry’s reporting to The Daily Wire.

“A man has died after suffering second and third-degree burns over 70 percent of his body – days after Rochester Police say he was intentionally set on fire by two teenage boys,” WHAM 13 reported on the heinous crime. “Investigators said the man, whose name has not been released, was sitting in a chair in his apartment on Lyell Avenue near Murray Street on Friday. According to officers, the two teenagers — ages 14 and 16 — sprayed the man with an ignitable fluid, then set him on fire.”

“Both teenagers were charged with first-degree assault,” the report added. “The 16-year-old is charged second-degree attempted arson, while the 14-year-old was charged with second-degree arson.”

Lonsberry noted Monday, “If two white teens had set a mentally ill black man on fire last Friday on Lyell Avenue, how many floors at the Strathallan would be set aside for national media today? #ROC.”

As Lonsberry highlights, there has been a near blackout on any national reporting of the story — with a total blackout on the races involved.

The New York Post and USA Today (reprinting the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle story) gave the report some air, but race was not mentioned.

The races of those involved may not prove to be relevant in the end, as we do not yet have any motive for the crime. At this early stage of the investigation, there are no reported connections between the teens and the man. If police sources are correct, however, race was a factor when the teens reportedly told their victim to say he was set on fire by white men.

Due to this claim, the racial connection is stronger than in many other national stories the media framed through a racial lens. News reports of the incidents concerning Michael Brown, Freddie Gray, Eric Garner and George Floyd, for example, were not shown to be connected to race, other than the media’s injection of the issue into the tragic incidents.

“In a world where everything anymore seems to be about race, nobody wanted to mention the fact that the teens where black and the old man was white, and they watched him burn a bit, after they sprayed him and lit him, and they told him to say it was two white guys who did it,” Lonsberry wrote.

“Nobody will ask if it was a hate crime,” he added.

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Two Teens Set Mentally Ill Man On Fire; If Races Were Reversed It Would Be A National Story