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Man burns rainbow flag and assaults volunteer at California LGBT community center

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A man was arrested in Berkeley last week after he set fire to a rainbow flag at an LGBT community center — and then punched a volunteer who tried to stop him.

Berkeleyside.com reports that a 32-year-old transient man named Richard Woods allegedly approached the Pacific Center for Human Growth in Berkeley last week and starting shouting homophobic slurs before trying to set the flag on fire.

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When a volunteer at the center approached Woods and tried to stop him from setting the flag ablaze, he punched them in the face.

A staff member who heard commotion outside the Pacific Center was able to take a photograph of the alleged assailant, which she then gave to police, who proceeded to track down and arrest Woods within 20 minutes.

Woods faces charges of arson, battery and committing a hate crime.

Pete Mancilla, a volunteer at the center, said he was disappointed that anyone would attack what should be a support center for members of the LGBT community.

“It’s extremely disappointing to know that even our safe places where services are provided for the good of our community are vulnerable to hate,” he wrote. “I want this to be a reminder to everyone that we should always stand up for what we believe in and support one another. There is no room for hate here.”

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