Woman accused of hitting man with laptop in hate-crime case

Sarah Ann Neal, 42, of Santa Clara

By the Daily Post staff

A 42-year-old woman has been arrested by Palo Alto police after she allegedly assaulted a man of Middle Eastern descent with a laptop in what authorities are saying is a hate crime.

At 7:55 p.m. Friday (Jan. 22), police got a call about a battery taking place on California Avenue and officers rushed to the scene, but the suspect had run away.

The victim, a man of Middle Eastern descent in his 50s, had been talking on his cellphone on the sidewalk when a white woman approached him and asked for money, police said.

When he refused, she questioned his immigration status and demanded to see his identification, according to police. When he again refused, she removed a laptop from a bag she had been carrying and began attacking him with it, police said.

She struck him twice with the laptop on his arms as he tried to defend himself.

Then she picked up a large wooden sign from the sidewalk, swung it at him, and missed, police said.

According to the victim, the woman 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, she 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 cellphone.

The victim complained of pain to one of his elbows but did not require medical attention, police said.

At 8:26 p.m., officers located the suspect on El Camino Real at Los Robles Avenue and detained her.

She’s identified as Sarah Ann Neal, 42, of Santa Clara. Police booked her into the Santa Clara County Main Jail for assault with a deadly weapon and a hate crime (both felonies).