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Black Family In Manhattan Beach Believes House Fire Was A Hate Crime

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A fire was intentionally set on the doorstep of a Manhattan Beach house, and the homeowner thinks that he and his family were targeted in a hate crime.

Ron Clinton's home on the 700 block of 11th Street was attacked around 2:15 a.m. when a tire was set on fire on the main doorstep. Clinton and his family were able to safely escape get out when smoke detectors and the family dog woke them up. Although the fire caused about $200,000 in damages, it was mostly confined to the front door and entryway. Clinton is convinced that he and his family were targeted because they are black. "I don't have proof. I don't have any type of a motive. But I do have a gut. And I tell you my gut believes that this is racially motivated," he told Fox 11.

The Clintons have lived at their home for about a year and the fire wasn't just another incident in a line of harassment targeted at their home. Trash has been dumped at their home, and a few months ago "drug paraphernalia" was left on their doorstep. He told NBC 4 that they are "the only African-American family in this area."

"This community is not about that. Anyone is welcome here. It's disgusting and we don't tolerate that," said a friend and neighbor of the Clintons. She hopes that the attacks don't push them out of the neighborhood, adding, "We need to say 'stay'. If anything that speaks louder than that awful act." In Yorba Linda, a black family was driven out after two years of constant harassment. In response to the fire, the Clintons' neighbors have set up an online fundraiser as a reward for information leading to an arrest.

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In a statement the Manhattan Beach fire department called the fire "suspicious" and said they were "aggressively investigating this very serious matter" and that they would "explore all motives."

Anyone with information about the incident is being asked to call the Manhattan Beach fire department at (310) 345-0467.