News

Man charged after alleged violent downtown hate crime

Two people physically attacked in epithet-filled rant

Two people were attacked during a violent hate crime assault in downtown Palo Alto early Sunday morning, and the suspect had to be taken into custody with the assistance of a police dog, police said Tuesday. He now faced multiple felony charges, the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office said.

Alexander Joseph Furrier, 26, of Palo Alto, has been charged for a hate crime assault reported in downtown Palo Alto on Oct. 10, 2021. Courtesy Palo Alto Police Department.

The assault left a man in his 60s temporarily unconscious. A second victim, a woman in her 20s, was thrown to the ground. The alleged attacker, Alexander Joseph Furrier, 26, of Palo Alto, allegedly first verbally badgered the older man with hate-based slurs, according to a press release.

Police responded to a call on Oct. 10 at about 1:30 a.m. after a witness reported two males fighting near the intersection of University Avenue and Waverley Street. Officers located the two victims and the suspected attacker, later identified as Furrier, who had blood on his face.

Furrier fled on foot. Officers chased him while others aided the two people and called personnel from the Palo Alto Fire Department to assist. The man in his 60s had temporarily lost consciousness, police learned.

The woman and Furrier were acquaintances. They had been at a downtown bar and later attended a house party with a group of mutual friends. The woman left the party with a man in his 60s and another man, both of whom she said are gay. Furrier followed the trio on foot and allegedly continually called the two men anti-gay epithets, police said.

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When they reached University Avenue at Waverley Street, the two men who accompanied the woman parted ways from her. Furrier, however, refused to leave although the woman told him to leave her alone. He allegedly made rude statements to her, she told police.

The man in his 60s returned to come to the woman's aid and asked if she needed help. When she replied that she did, he confronted Furrier and asked him to leave the woman alone. Furrier allegedly attacked the older man, punching him several times while continuing to use anti-gay epithets. He then allegedly picked up the woman and threw her to the ground when she tried to intervene. He continued to punch the older man, who was temporarily knocked unconscious as a result of the assault, police said.

Upon arrival, officers chased Furrier on foot to the 400 block of Everett Avenue. They found him hiding on a second-floor stairwell of an apartment complex. Officers, including one who is also a member of the department's Crisis Negotiation Team, attempted to reason with him to come downstairs and surrender. Furrier did not comply and refused to obey police, even after being warned a police dog could be used to arrest him.

Furrier kicked the police dog repeatedly in the head and attempted to choke the dog between his legs until the officers were able to get him safely handcuffed and in custody. Police said they didn't use any additional force beyond the dog. The officers treated Furrier's leg, which had been bitten by the dog, and the Palo Alto Fire Department transported him to a local hospital for further medical assistance.

The older man suffered a laceration to the back of his head and was admitted to a hospital for evaluation for a possible head injury. The woman said she was uninjured.

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Furrier was taken into custody had multiple lacerations from the dog bite to his lower leg and a cut on his face that occurred prior to police arriving on scene. The police dog had a cut above one eye and also may have injured a paw; a veterinarian will evaluate and treat the dog's injuries. No officers were injured during the arrest, the department said.

Police booked Furrier into Santa Clara County jail after he received brief treatment at a hospital.

The Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office said it has decided to charge Furrier with assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury; personal infliction of great bodily injury; battery upon any person causing serious bodily injury; commission of felony that is a hate crime; harming a peace officer's horse or dog, causing serious injury; resisting, delaying, obstructing an officer; and battery. His arraignment was set for Thursday.

Palo Alto police said they won't tolerate hate crimes and they encourage the public to report any such incidents.

"In the wake of recent national events and increased attention on hate crimes, the personnel of the Palo Alto Police Department continue to show their commitment to thoroughly investigate any reported hate crimes in Palo Alto. … The City of Palo Alto strongly denounces hate crimes of all kinds, and encourages members of our community to promptly report these incidents."

Anyone with information about Sunday's incident 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 by text message or voicemail to 650-383-8984. Tips can also be submitted anonymously through the police's free mobile app, downloadable at bit.ly/PAPD-AppStore or bit.ly/PAPD-GooglePlay.

Editor's note: The name and photo of the defendant was added to the story on Oct. 14, after the District Attorney filed charges in the case. See our publishing guidelines here.

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Man charged after alleged violent downtown hate crime

Two people physically attacked in epithet-filled rant

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Tue, Oct 12, 2021, 3:34 pm
Updated: Thu, Oct 14, 2021, 5:16 pm

Two people were attacked during a violent hate crime assault in downtown Palo Alto early Sunday morning, and the suspect had to be taken into custody with the assistance of a police dog, police said Tuesday. He now faced multiple felony charges, the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office said.

The assault left a man in his 60s temporarily unconscious. A second victim, a woman in her 20s, was thrown to the ground. The alleged attacker, Alexander Joseph Furrier, 26, of Palo Alto, allegedly first verbally badgered the older man with hate-based slurs, according to a press release.

Police responded to a call on Oct. 10 at about 1:30 a.m. after a witness reported two males fighting near the intersection of University Avenue and Waverley Street. Officers located the two victims and the suspected attacker, later identified as Furrier, who had blood on his face.

Furrier fled on foot. Officers chased him while others aided the two people and called personnel from the Palo Alto Fire Department to assist. The man in his 60s had temporarily lost consciousness, police learned.

The woman and Furrier were acquaintances. They had been at a downtown bar and later attended a house party with a group of mutual friends. The woman left the party with a man in his 60s and another man, both of whom she said are gay. Furrier followed the trio on foot and allegedly continually called the two men anti-gay epithets, police said.

When they reached University Avenue at Waverley Street, the two men who accompanied the woman parted ways from her. Furrier, however, refused to leave although the woman told him to leave her alone. He allegedly made rude statements to her, she told police.

The man in his 60s returned to come to the woman's aid and asked if she needed help. When she replied that she did, he confronted Furrier and asked him to leave the woman alone. Furrier allegedly attacked the older man, punching him several times while continuing to use anti-gay epithets. He then allegedly picked up the woman and threw her to the ground when she tried to intervene. He continued to punch the older man, who was temporarily knocked unconscious as a result of the assault, police said.

Upon arrival, officers chased Furrier on foot to the 400 block of Everett Avenue. They found him hiding on a second-floor stairwell of an apartment complex. Officers, including one who is also a member of the department's Crisis Negotiation Team, attempted to reason with him to come downstairs and surrender. Furrier did not comply and refused to obey police, even after being warned a police dog could be used to arrest him.

Furrier kicked the police dog repeatedly in the head and attempted to choke the dog between his legs until the officers were able to get him safely handcuffed and in custody. Police said they didn't use any additional force beyond the dog. The officers treated Furrier's leg, which had been bitten by the dog, and the Palo Alto Fire Department transported him to a local hospital for further medical assistance.

The older man suffered a laceration to the back of his head and was admitted to a hospital for evaluation for a possible head injury. The woman said she was uninjured.

Furrier was taken into custody had multiple lacerations from the dog bite to his lower leg and a cut on his face that occurred prior to police arriving on scene. The police dog had a cut above one eye and also may have injured a paw; a veterinarian will evaluate and treat the dog's injuries. No officers were injured during the arrest, the department said.

Police booked Furrier into Santa Clara County jail after he received brief treatment at a hospital.

The Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office said it has decided to charge Furrier with assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury; personal infliction of great bodily injury; battery upon any person causing serious bodily injury; commission of felony that is a hate crime; harming a peace officer's horse or dog, causing serious injury; resisting, delaying, obstructing an officer; and battery. His arraignment was set for Thursday.

Palo Alto police said they won't tolerate hate crimes and they encourage the public to report any such incidents.

"In the wake of recent national events and increased attention on hate crimes, the personnel of the Palo Alto Police Department continue to show their commitment to thoroughly investigate any reported hate crimes in Palo Alto. … The City of Palo Alto strongly denounces hate crimes of all kinds, and encourages members of our community to promptly report these incidents."

Anyone with information about Sunday's incident 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 by text message or voicemail to 650-383-8984. Tips can also be submitted anonymously through the police's free mobile app, downloadable at bit.ly/PAPD-AppStore or bit.ly/PAPD-GooglePlay.

Editor's note: The name and photo of the defendant was added to the story on Oct. 14, after the District Attorney filed charges in the case. See our publishing guidelines here.

Comments

Samuel L.
Registered user
Meadow Park
on Oct 12, 2021 at 3:41 pm
Samuel L., Meadow Park
Registered user
on Oct 12, 2021 at 3:41 pm

PAPD Twitter post gives his name. Why again doesn't PA Online?
Web Link


Optimist Pessimist Realist
Registered user
East Palo Alto
on Oct 12, 2021 at 5:46 pm
Optimist Pessimist Realist , East Palo Alto
Registered user
on Oct 12, 2021 at 5:46 pm

Samuel, this publication has its own policy.


Educator
Registered user
Midtown
on Oct 12, 2021 at 6:33 pm
Educator, Midtown
Registered user
on Oct 12, 2021 at 6:33 pm

Hey PA Online, according to GLAAD, homosexual is an offensive term. The term “gay” is preferred.


It.is.what.it.is
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 12, 2021 at 7:10 pm
It.is.what.it.is, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Oct 12, 2021 at 7:10 pm

It's a Paly family and it's all over the internet if you want to see the mug and name.


jvpadojino
Registered user
Evergreen Park
on Oct 12, 2021 at 9:15 pm
jvpadojino, Evergreen Park
Registered user
on Oct 12, 2021 at 9:15 pm

Hi @Educator, my name is Jamey Padojino, digital editor at Palo Alto Online. The story has been updated with the preferred term. Thank you for bringing this to our attention.


Herb Goodman
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Oct 13, 2021 at 8:03 am
Herb Goodman, Crescent Park
Registered user
on Oct 13, 2021 at 8:03 am
Jennifer
Registered user
another community
on Oct 13, 2021 at 9:47 am
Jennifer, another community
Registered user
on Oct 13, 2021 at 9:47 am

Reading comprehension:

Nowhere in this article does it say the 26 yr. old suspect is gay. The suspect and the young woman were acquaintances. The woman left the party with the victim in his 60s and another man, both of whom she said are gay.

If the suspect is straight and the victim is gay - hate crime. The 26 year old suspect and the woman are probably straight.


Raul Montez
Registered user
Greenmeadow
on Oct 13, 2021 at 10:14 am
Raul Montez, Greenmeadow
Registered user
on Oct 13, 2021 at 10:14 am
Madison Barkley
Registered user
Barron Park
on Oct 13, 2021 at 12:39 pm
Madison Barkley, Barron Park
Registered user
on Oct 13, 2021 at 12:39 pm

The assailant could also be charged with elder abuse if 60 is considered old age by the authorities.

Elder abuse is a serious crime.


TimR
Registered user
Downtown North
on Oct 13, 2021 at 12:49 pm
TimR, Downtown North
Registered user
on Oct 13, 2021 at 12:49 pm

I hope the dog's okay. Seems like he or she bore all the risk in this arrest situation.


Optimist Pessimist Realist
Registered user
East Palo Alto
on Oct 13, 2021 at 3:59 pm
Optimist Pessimist Realist , East Palo Alto
Registered user
on Oct 13, 2021 at 3:59 pm

What’s the bail status of this august member of the Palo Alto community?


vmshadle
Registered user
Meadow Park
on Oct 13, 2021 at 5:51 pm
vmshadle, Meadow Park
Registered user
on Oct 13, 2021 at 5:51 pm

Mr. Goodman, are you a member of the LGBTQ community? I am.

If you aren't, then your speculation about what actually transpired and your attempt to judge whether or not this is a hate crime is inappropriate and out of line.


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 13, 2021 at 6:23 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Oct 13, 2021 at 6:23 pm

I'm not Asian but I don't have to be to recognize that the threats made against the owner of Fuki Sushi and Lydia Kou were hate crimes / hate speech even though PAPD did precious little about either incident.


Jennifer
Registered user
another community
on Oct 13, 2021 at 9:07 pm
Jennifer, another community
Registered user
on Oct 13, 2021 at 9:07 pm

Elder abuse in California is 65 years or older. I agree that this is a simple assault case fueled by jealousy and intoxication.


Samuel L.
Registered user
Meadow Park
on Oct 14, 2021 at 8:25 am
Samuel L., Meadow Park
Registered user
on Oct 14, 2021 at 8:25 am

Jennifer, this is not simple.assault. this is a hate crime:

"The younger man allegedly attacked the older man, punching him several times while continuing to use anti-gay epithets."

Alcohol/drugs don't excuse the behavior. They lower inhibitors and reveal what's really underneath.


Darvin Mecklinberg
Registered user
Stanford
on Oct 14, 2021 at 8:31 am
Darvin Mecklinberg, Stanford
Registered user
on Oct 14, 2021 at 8:31 am

Gay or straight, an overindulgence in alcohol can often bring out the worst in people and this incident is one of many.

Alleged hate crimes cannot all be lumped into the same general category.

Would this have been considered a hate crime if all of the parties involved were transgender?


Aron Spector
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 14, 2021 at 10:14 am
Aron Spector, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Oct 14, 2021 at 10:14 am

""The younger man allegedly attacked the older man, punching him several times while continuing to use anti-gay epithets."

Using anti-gay epithets does not necessarily confirm or deny that the assailant was straight or that this incident was an actual hate crime.

Disparaging remarks related to one's ethnicity and/or sexual identity are frequently used by members of the same groups when angered or threatened (i.e. inner city gang altercations, LGBTQ quarrels, among 'friends', and even within families themselves).

The term 'hate crime' is being overused as a convenient catch-all for everything deemed offensive whether the motives were intentional or not.

A preoccupation with political correctness, cancel culture, and revisionist history has become an obsessive mindset for some but let's not make mountains out of molehills.

And I am speaking as a person of Jewish heritage whose people have endured true hate crimes for centuries.




Samuel L
Registered user
Meadow Park
on Oct 14, 2021 at 12:10 pm
Samuel L, Meadow Park
Registered user
on Oct 14, 2021 at 12:10 pm

California definition of a hate crime:

Penal Code 422.55 PC is the California statute that defines a hate crime as a criminal act committed because of the victim’s actual or perceived:

disability,
gender,
nationality,
race or ethnicity,
religion,
sexual orientation, or
association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics.

Furrier used slurs while following the group and also while beating on the male victim. Pretty clear that the victim's sexual orientation played a role in the attack, regardless of Furrier's drug and/or alcohol use. He had the mental capacity to evade the police, so he had some level of reasoning ability.


Paly02
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Oct 14, 2021 at 3:13 pm
Paly02, Crescent Park
Registered user
on Oct 14, 2021 at 3:13 pm

Based upon the above definition of a hate crime, a gay person could beat up another gay person while yelling slurs at them and it would be considered a hate crime. Not sure why people in this comment section seem to think otherwise.


Lillian Taylor
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Oct 14, 2021 at 3:15 pm
Lillian Taylor, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Oct 14, 2021 at 3:15 pm
Samuel L.
Registered user
Meadow Park
on Oct 14, 2021 at 4:32 pm
Samuel L., Meadow Park
Registered user
on Oct 14, 2021 at 4:32 pm

Lillian, read the article not just the comments. Furrier, as far as the article is concerned, is not gay, and there is nothing to suggest otherwise.

Also, look up, or read, the CA definition of a hate crime.


vegetarian c
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 15, 2021 at 11:14 am
vegetarian c, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Oct 15, 2021 at 11:14 am

I’m with TimR —

Horrible event. Tragic. But please keep us updated on the condition of the police canine who was injured during the capture of the suspect.


Ron Davis
Registered user
Greenmeadow
on Oct 15, 2021 at 3:23 pm
Ron Davis, Greenmeadow
Registered user
on Oct 15, 2021 at 3:23 pm

Hatred towards someone or something will always be a prevalent aspect of mankind (aka human nature) as it has been since day one.

Does any rational or sane person actually believe there will ever come a time when everyone loves one another and there will be no more wars, terrorism, or various crimes against humanity?

Highly unlikely.

So the best we can do is just go about our own business (including minding one's own business) and try to avoid unnecessary confrontational situations that speak poorly of the lesser evolved human beings.

To be civilized is to not bother socializing (or getting involved) with the uncivilized.

Bars are a petri dish for potential trouble whether it be a STD, DUI, or a pending altercation all of which could have easily been avoided.




Aletheia
Registered user
Greenmeadow
on Oct 15, 2021 at 4:53 pm
Aletheia, Greenmeadow
Registered user
on Oct 15, 2021 at 4:53 pm

First of all, I am very sad for the woman and gentleman that were attacked. Just awful. Also, this has all the earmarks of a young man in crisis. Almost certainly drug addiction. Very sad but he's young enough to hopefully turn his life around. They say you have to hit rock bottom before you start to turn your life around. I certainly hope this is his time. My heart goes out not only to the victims but to the family of this young man who are no doubt going through hell right now.


Trevor Donlevy
Registered user
Barron Park
on Oct 16, 2021 at 9:17 am
Trevor Donlevy, Barron Park
Registered user
on Oct 16, 2021 at 9:17 am

This incident could be interpreted in two ways.

First of all, an overindulgence in alcohol consumption most likely played a role in this altercation.

And next would come jealousy.

If the attacker was straight, he might have been jealous or resentful of this young woman being escorted by two gay males.

And if he was gay, he may have been resentful that he was not receiving any further attention from the two gay males as the evening subsided.

The night was still young and perhaps there were unfulfilled expectations.

As far as being a hate crime, this is debatable.


Optimist Pessimist Realist
Registered user
East Palo Alto
on Oct 17, 2021 at 3:04 pm
Optimist Pessimist Realist , East Palo Alto
Registered user
on Oct 17, 2021 at 3:04 pm

Asking again, what is Alexander Furrier’s bail status? Has be bonded out, OR’d or still in jail?


Paly02
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Oct 17, 2021 at 7:38 pm
Paly02, Crescent Park
Registered user
on Oct 17, 2021 at 7:38 pm

I can't say for sure but I suspect he's out. He's had his first arraignment so far and his plea hearing is in about a month. I don't imagine they'd want to keep him locked up for a month because of Covid.


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