Police Investigate Downtown Vehicle Assault as a Hate Crime

Published on October 03, 2022

Palo Alto, CA An assault last Thursday afternoon in Palo Alto is being investigated as a hate crime, after a victim riding a bicycle reported that a suspect in a vehicle called him a racial epithet, spat on him, and then intentionally collided with him.  The victim sustained a minor physical injury.  The suspect is unknown and at large.

On Thursday, September 29, 2022, at about 5:32 p.m., our 24-hour victim received a call reporting an injury hit-and-run collision that had just occurred on University Avenue at Webster Street.  Officers responded immediately, as did personnel from the Palo Alto Fire Department.

The investigation revealed that the victim, a man in his thirties, was riding his bicycle eastbound on University Avenue in the roadway.  Shortly after he temporarily pulled further into the traffic lane to pass an uninvolved vehicle that was attempting a parking maneuver, the victim said the suspect pulled up next to him in a pick-up truck and began to yell at him for riding in the middle of the road.  The two men began to argue, at which point the suspect called the victim (who is Black) a racial epithet, spat on him, reached out to grab the victim’s arm, and then drove his truck into the side of the victim’s bicycle.  This caused the victim to fall to the ground.  The victim said the suspect’s truck drove over his bicycle, and the suspect then drove away northbound on Webster Street and turned east on Lytton Avenue.  The victim later saw the truck turn back onto eastbound University Avenue and continue driving.

The victim sustained a small laceration to his leg, which paramedics treated at the scene.  The victim’s bicycle sustained minor damage but remained rideable.

The victim said the suspect was a white male in his thirties with blonde hair.  He was wearing a construction vest.  The victim said the suspect’s vehicle was a silver Toyota truck.  Detectives plan to have a police artist work with the victim to produce a sketch of the suspect; we will distribute the sketch as soon as it is available.

To view details on other hate crimes reported in Palo Alto, visit www.cityofpaloalto.org/PAPDnews and search by keyword “hate.”

Officers will thoroughly investigate any reported hate crimes in Palo Alto.  You are welcome to read a blog post from the City entitled “Steps the Community Can Take to Help Stop Hate Crimes.”  The City of Palo Alto strongly denounces hate crimes of all kinds and encourages members of our community to promptly report these incidents by calling our 24-hour dispatch center at (650) 329-2413, or 9-1-1 if it is an emergency.  Recently, the City’s Human Relations Commission has been continuing to help advance the City’s race and equity conversations, focusing on enhanced public awareness and education surrounding hate crimes and hate incidents in coordination with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Police received no other calls about this case from any passersby, nor were officers able to locate any witnesses.  Police are asking anyone who may have witnessed this incident to please call our 24-hour dispatch center at (650) 329-2413.  Anonymous tips can be e-mailed to paloalto@tipnow.org or sent via text message or voice mail to (650) 383-8984.

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