A Walnut Creek man was arrested in downtown Palo Alto on Friday morning for an alleged hate crime after he reportedly flashed a weapon at a man who was sitting in a car and yelled, "Go back to your country," police said.
The altercation was allegedly one of two that the man, 35, was involved in that morning, according to a news release from the Palo Alto Police Department. In another incident, the man reportedly hit someone's car with his fist while yelling at them and then broke their side-view mirror.
Police said the assault happened just before 9:30 a.m. near the 200 block of University Avenue. They received a call from a man originally from Azerbaijan who reported that he had just been approached by a man who had brandished a knife and who was yelling at him to go back to his country. An investigation revealed that the victim, who is in his 40s, was sitting in his car in the 400 block of Emerson Street where the other man parked his vehicle, a 2017 GMC van, in front of him. The man in the van then got out, approached the victim's car and began to bang on his driver's side window with a black object that the other man believed was a pocket knife.
The man in his 40s reported that the man yelled "Go back to your country," "We don't want to see you here" and "Leave our country" at him. When the victim rolled down his window to ask him what the problem was, the man reportedly spat in his face. The victim then drove a block south to get away from the assailant and when he saw that he was being followed, he called law enforcement, according to the news release from the Palo Alto Police Department.
Police arrived and reportedly found the man with the GMC in the 500 block of Emerson Street. He did not obey their commands and attempted to run away, police said. He was caught and apprehended after a brief struggle, police said. Neither he nor any of the officers sustained any injuries, according to the news release.
Police found inside the man's van a set of brass knuckles wrapped in black electrical tape, which they believe were the weapon that the man was holding when he accosted the other man. No knife was found.
Police believe the man is also responsible for a separate incident that was reported at around the same time near the intersection of Lytton Avenue and Ramona Street. The caller in that case reported that a man approached his vehicle, asked him to roll down his window, accused him of following him and then requested that he step out of his car. Police said that when the victim, a man in his 30s, refused, the guy tried to punch him through his half-open window but missed. He then reportedly swung his hands down and broke the side-view mirror of the man's car.
Both victims said that they had never seen the assailant before the respective encounters, according to the police.
Police booked the 35-year-old suspect, who's from Walnut Creek, into the Santa Clara County Main Jail on suspicion of possession of illegal weapon (a felony), and five misdemeanors: hate crime, battery, resisting arrest, assault and vandalism.
Anyone with information about these incidents is asked to call the department's 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be emailed to [email protected] or sent via text message or voicemail to 650-383-8984.
Editor's note: Palo Alto Online's policy is to withhold the names of those arrested for most crimes until the district attorney has determined there is sufficient evidence to file charges in the case. Read our guidelines.
There are no comments yet. Please share yours below.