An assault Thursday afternoon in Palo Alto is being investigated as a hate crime, police said Monday.
A victim riding a bicycle near University Avenue and Webster Street around 5:30 p.m. reported that a suspect in a vehicle called him a racial epithet, spat on him and then intentionally collided with him, causing a minor injury.
The suspect is unknown and at large.
The investigation revealed that the victim, a man in his 30s, was riding his bicycle eastbound on University in the roadway when he temporarily pulled further into the traffic lane in order to pass an uninvolved vehicle that was trying to park.
The victim said that the suspect pulled up next to him in a pickup 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 Black victim a racial epithet, spat on him and reached out to grab his arm. The suspect then drove his truck into the side of the man's bike, causing him to fall to the ground.
The man said the suspect then drove over his bicycle and proceeded northbound on Webster, turning East on Lytton Avenue. The victim later saw the same vehicle turn back onto eastbound University.
The man suffered a small laceration on his leg and was treated at the scene by medical personnel. His bike sustained minor damage but remained rideable.
The suspect is described as a white male in his 30s with blond hair. He was wearing a construction vest and driving a silver Toyota truck. Detectives are working with a police artist to create a sketch of the suspect and will distribute it as soon as it is available, the Palo Alto Police Department said.
Police have not gotten any other calls about this incident from any passersby. The department is asking anyone who may have witnessed this incident to please call the 24-hour dispatch center at (650) 329-2413. Anonymous tips can be emailed to [email protected] or by voicemail at (650) 383-8984.