Palo Alto: Woman Arrested on Suspicion of Assault, Hate Crime

A Santa Clara woman was arrested Friday night in Palo Alto on suspicion of assaulting a man in an alleged hate crime, police said.

Officers responded to a report made at about 7:55pm of a battery in progress in the 300 block of California Avenue. Upon their arrival, the suspect, later identified as 42-year-old Sarah Ann Neal, had fled on foot.

An investigation revealed that the victim, a man in his 50s of Middle Eastern descent, had been talking on his cellphone on the sidewalk when Neal approached him asking for money. When the victim refused, Neal questioned his immigration status and demanded to see his identification.

When the victim refused once again, Neal allegedly removed a laptop from a bag she had been carrying and began to attack the victim with it, striking him twice on the arms. Neal then allegedly picked up a large wooden sign from the sidewalk and swung it at the victim, but missed him.

According to the victim, Neal told him he “probably hates women” and was "the reason the country was going down."

When a witness said they were going to call the police, Neal fled the scene on foot.

Shortly before 8:30pm, officer located Neal on El Camino Real at Los Robles Avenue and detained her. Neal was booked into the Santa Clara County Main Jail on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and a hate crime.

The victim told police he believed the attack was motivated by Neal hearing his accent as he spoke on his cellphone. The victim complained of pain to one of his elbows, but did not require medical attention.

Anyone with additional information is asked to contact the Palo Alto Police Department at 650.329.2413 or [email protected].


  1. hate crime or just crazy?

    mr unnamed victim, sorry dude that aint cool what happen to you…

    hope your weekend got better…

  2. I believe the motive was this person feeling angry about not getting any money. It is very unlikely for a woman to approach someone believing he hates women! I am not justifying the assault. The motive as described by witnesses does not make sense! Women typically do not approach someone perceived as a hater of women! Something is missing about this story. The victim may have insulted the woman after she asked for money. I have personally seen people insulting and even assaulted a person after they asked for money. It is also very unlikely for a woman to attack a man on this issue unless she was under the influence. She assaulted him based on witnesses, the rest of the story does not make sense!

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