Hate crime? Black family in Manhattan Beach target of alleged arson

Family in Manhattan Beach believes their home was set on fire because they are black

Members of a black family in Manhattan Beach are calling for a hate crime investigation after they were allegedly targeted by an arsonist who set their home on fire.

Manhattan Beach police refused to comment on the incident outside of saying the blaze was “suspicious” and referred comment to the Fire Department. A Fire Department official told local media that the department was only investigating it as a potential arson. Neither department would discuss a potential motive for the attack.

But for Ron and Mallisia Clinton, who live in the home with their children and dog, the likely motive is clear -- their race.

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FOR THE RECORD
1:51 p.m.: An earlier version of this post misspelled Mallisia Clinton's first name as Melissa.
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“There’s no hard evidence,” Ron Clinton acknowledged to CBS-TV Channel 2, but he noted that there are few, if any, other black families in the area. “It was brought to my front door and it feels like it's personal.”

Authorities say the fire began about 2:15 a.m. Wednesday. Photos show the stucco exterior charred black, and glass around the doorway shattered. Someone had filled a tire with gasoline and ignited it, Clinton said.

His barking dog and a smoke alarm woke him up. He, his three children and the dog escaped uninjured.

“There’s very few African Americans in Manhattan Beach,” Clinton told KTLA-TV Channel 5. “Why us? Why our house specifically?”

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