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Attack On Japanese-American League Latest Violence Against Ethnic Group

October 4, 1993

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) _ The office of a Japanese-American group was firebombed and police said they thought it was related to recent attacks that targeted blacks and Jews.

A fire gutted the office of the Japanese American Citizens League after someone threw a Molotov cocktail through the front door early Saturday, police said. No one was injured and police made no arrests by late Sunday.

Police were treating the attack as a hate crime, Police Chief Arturo Venegas said. They were assuming it was connected to several other recent cases, including attacks on the Sacramento NAACP and a synagogue, he said.

The FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms were helping with the investigation. The Secret Service also was notified because of President Clinton’s visit to Sacramento on Sunday. The Japanese American Citizens League is a volunteer organization that promotes civil rights. The 850-member group has had an office in a quiet area of downtown Sacramento for nine years.

″We’re a community service organization - that’s why it’s such a shock that something like this would happen to us,″ said chapter President Randy Imai.

The league had not received any threats, Imai said.

The fire was similar to one in July at the Sacramento office of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. It also started when a Molotov cocktail was thrown through a window at night. Vandalism later occurred at the NCAAP’s new offices.

Also this summer, someone threw a Molotov cocktail at a window at Congregation B’nai Israel in Sacramento.

″The question is, who’s next and what do we do to prevent it?″ said Barbara Lehman, head of the city-county Human Rights and Fair Housing Commission.

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