A Donald Trump supporter whose large Trump sign was torched outside his home during the night is livid after cops say it can’t be classified as a hate crime.
Sam Pirozzolo, an optician in Staten Island, New York, had set up a giagantic 12’ x 8’ “T” on his lawn, right beside his home, about two weeks ago. It was made out of 1 ½ -inch-thick foam and decorated to look like the big “T” was cut out of an American flag.
Pirozzolo also had two smaller Trump signs on his lawn, which were stolen on Wednesday. Around 1:00 a.m. Sunday morning, his neighbors alerted him that the large “T” sign was going up in flames.
The NYPD said the sign was obviously doused in gasoline and then set on fire. But according to New York law, an offense can be prosecuted as a hate crime only if it targets a victim’s “race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender, religion, religious practice, age, disability or sexual orientation.”
“If this was about my religion or if I was gay, this would be a hate crime,” he said. “That someone can walk up, set a fire, burn my property and put my family in danger — it’s crazy not to make this a hate crime.”
“It’s a shame this generation that is around now, these kids, feel it’s fine to block my First Amendment speech — including almost setting my house on fire. To them, that makes sense,” said Pirozzolo.
According to the NY Post, City Councilman Joe Borelli (R-Staten Island), a co-chairman of Trump’s New York campaign, called the burning of Pirozzolo’s “T” “a clear line that’s being crossed.”
“It’s reminiscent of cross-burnings, and the message is one of intimidation,” Borelli said.
Pirozzolo had hired conservative artist Scott Lobaido to build the sign. The arson has only inspired them to make a comeback. “I’m gonna build it bigger and better than before. It’s going to be yuuuge,” Lobaido said.