U.S. flag set on fire outside Jewish family's home was not hate crime, LAPD says

A 31-year-old man accused of setting a U.S. flag on fire outside a West Hills home over the weekend has been arrested, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

Kevin Miller was booked on suspicion of arson of an inhabited dwelling Monday night, police said.

Officials were initially investigating whether the arson was a hate crime, as the family living at the home is Jewish and had a mezuza — a sacred Jewish object — at their front door, but detectives said the investigation determined the man was not motivated by hate.

LAPD officials declined to comment Wednesday morning about what details led to that determination.

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However, the homeowner said detectives told her that the man did not appear to look at the mezuza in the video, and during questioning, he did not appear to have prior knowledge of the mezuza or the family.

“I’m really happy that it doesn’t have to do with religion," said Hadas, who asked that she only be identified by her first name out of fear for herself and family. She said she feels relief that the fire had “nothing to do with me or what I believe.”

Hadas said she appreciated the quick response from police, especially given heightened concerns about the possibility for a rise in antisemitic, as well as anti-Muslim, incidents as the war between Israel and Hamas continues.

“They took it serious,” she said. "They did amazing, they didn’t let it slide."

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.