A husband and wife in California were arrested for hate crimes and vandalism charges after being seen on the cellphone video screaming “white power” and “only white life matters” against a black man and his girlfriend , authorities said.
The racist incident occurred on July 22nd at around 10.30pm. when both couples were stopped at the red light in Torrance, about 20 miles south of downtown Los Angeles, according to a press release from the Torrance police.
The suspects, Gregory and Rachel Howell, were stopped in their truck in front of the victims’ car, the statement said.
Gregory Howell got out of his vehicle, went to the car of the victims and screamed “white power”
KTLA identified the female victim as Itzel Lopez. She told the outlet that she and her boyfriend, who she said was Black, were returning home after a birthday dinner when they noticed that the Howells had been following them for several minutes.
When Lopez and his boyfriend approached a red light, the Howells moved in front of them.
A video of the accident was posted on an Instagram account believed to belong to Lopez. In the video, which contains vulgarity and hateful speeches, Rachel Howell is seen giving Lopez the middle finger and saying “white vine matter b —-” and “white vine matter only”.
Gregory Howell is seen in the video standing near the front of the truck as he greets the Nazi.
“It’s crazy,” says Lopez in the video. “The s — we have to go through, 2020.”
As Lopez’s boyfriend, who is driving, begins to reverse the car to escape, Gregory Howell is seen grabbing a shovel and walking towards the vehicle.
“We were shocked,” Lopez told KTLA. “We didn’t know what was going on. Never in my life have I thought of experiencing it. In reality it’s really scary. They don’t even know you and are willing to hurt you.”
Saturday Lopez did not immediately respond to NBC News’ request for comment.
Police reported that the victims filed a hate crime and vandalism report on July 23, the day after the accident.
The Howells, both 29, were arrested Friday and released on bail the same day, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff’s records. It is unclear whether they got prosecutors.
Efforts to reach Gregory or Rachel Howell on Saturday were unsuccessful. Multiple numbers that may belong to them did not work and a voicemail message left on a number was not immediately answered.