For release on January 27, 2021
Steven Dal Porto
Supervising Deputy District Attorney
Santa Clara Woman Charged with Hate Crime After Laptop Assault
A 42-year-old Santa Clara woman has been charged with a hate crime after she assaulted a man with her laptop and a traffic sign during an anti-immigrant tirade.
Sarah Ann Neal has been charged with battery and a hate crime, both misdemeanors. In custody on $30,000 bail, she will be arraigned at 1:30 p.m. today in Department 24 of the Hall of Justice in San Jose. If convicted, Neal faces possible incarceration.
“We will have no tolerance for criminal intolerance in this County,” District Attorney Jeff Rosen said. “We are all immigrants here.”
On January 22, 2021, the suspect approached the victim on the 300 block of California Avenue in Palo Alto and asked him for money. When the man replied that he had none, she said: “You don’t even belong in my country.” She asked for his identification. When he refused, she took out a laptop and struck him with it. The man tried to leave but she hit him again and – picking up a “No Parking” sign on the street - tried to strike him with that. “You are the reason the country is going down,” she told the victim during the attack.
The woman fled when a witness – who heard the suspect cursing at the victim and calling him an immigrant - said she was going to call police. The man suffered minor injuries and did not seek medical help.
About a half an hour later, Palo Alto police officers found Neal near Los Robles Avenue and El Camino Real and arrested her. She had a laptop.