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Community steps in to help Phoenix man assaulted in possible hate crime

Posted at 9:30 PM, Apr 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-27 17:31:54-04

The Phoenix Police biased crime unit is investigating a possible hate crime that happened around midnight Friday.

"Frustrating to hear that something like this could still happen in Phoenix, especially downtown Phoenix," said Symon Levenberg.

Levenberg says his friend Frankie Arzaga faced an unimaginable situation last weekend.

"Friday evening, Frankie was leaving a wedding, just gotten dinner with a friend of his and was calling an Uber to go home," said Levenberg.

He said Arzaga was waiting near Central Avenue and Van Buren Street outside a popular bar district when a man who appeared to be drunk began yelling homophobic slurs at Arzaga and his friend. Within moments the encounter turned violent.

"He had his leg broken in three places, and his friend was punched in the face," said Levenberg. "They tried walking away when the guy was yelling at them, but it only enraged him more."

The attack happened within eyesight of a surveillance camera outside Seamus McCaffrey's. 

Levenberg said the suspect was able to get away before police arrived. 

"The guy was taller than six feet, kind of heavier set white man with like a ginger beard, and he was riding away in one of the pedicabs," said Levenberg.

A GoFundMe account was set up for Frankie who's facing more than $25,000 in medical bills. 

"He's a hair stylist and business owner in Phoenix, he works on his feet that's how he makes a living," said Levenberg.

The community is stepping up already, donating more than $22,000 as of Thursday night. 

"We're desperate for leads, we'll take any information that we can to help bring this guy down, this is outrageous," said Levenberg.