Couple arrested after dog fight leads to suspected hate crime

A close up shot of a pair of handcuffs on a table.

The Santa Cruz Police Department is investigating an assault of a man walking his dog Saturday as a hate crime.

Police said the man suffered minor injuries when he was attacked by a couple that was also walking a dog at 11:30 a.m. Saturday.

The victim and his male partner said they were walking their dog in the 100 block of Blackburn Street when they passed a man and woman walking a dog. A fight occurred between the two animals, and the male owner called the victim a homophobic slur. Police said both he and the woman then assaulted the victim and fled the scene.

Officers identified the suspects with the help of surveillance video, and both were arrested and booked into Santa Cruz County jail on charges of assault, conspiracy, and violation of one's civil rights.