Palo Alto, CA – Police arrested a woman on Friday evening after she assaulted a man on a public sidewalk in an attack apparently motivated by his nationality. The victim complained of pain but did not require medical attention.
On Friday, January 22, 2021, at about 7:55 p.m., our 24-hour dispatch center received a call of a battery in progress that was occurring in the 300 block of California Avenue. Officers responded immediately but the suspect had fled on foot prior to their arrival. The investigation revealed that the victim, a male in his fifties of Middle Eastern descent, had been talking on his cell phone on the sidewalk. The suspect, who is white, approached him and asked for money. When he refused, she questioned his immigration status and demanded to see his identification. When he again refused, she removed a laptop from a bag she had been carrying and began attacking him with it. She struck him twice with the laptop on his arms as he tried to defend himself. The suspect then picked up a large wooden sign from the sidewalk, swung it at him, and missed. According to the victim, the suspect told him that he probably hates women and was “the reason the country was going down.” When a witness said they was going to call the police, the suspect fled on foot.
The victim told police he believed the attack might have been spurred by the suspect hearing his accent as he spoke on his cell phone. The victim complained of pain to one of his elbows but did not require medical attention.
At about 8:26 p.m., officers located the suspect on El Camino Real at Los Robles Avenue and detained her. Police booked 42-year-old Sarah Ann Neal of Santa Clara into the Santa Clara County Main Jail for assault with a deadly weapon and a hate crime (both felonies). A booking photo of the suspect is attached to this release.
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call our 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be e-mailed to email@example.com or sent via text message or voice mail to 650-383-8984. Tips can also be submitted anonymously through our free mobile app, downloadable at bit.ly/PAPD-AppStore or bit.ly/PAPD-GooglePlay.