A husband and wife in California were arrested on hate crimes and vandalism charges after they were seen on cellphone video yelling “white power” and “only white lives matter” at a Black man and his girlfriend, authorities said.
The racist incident happened on July 22 around 10:30 p.m. when both couples were stopped at a red light in Torrance, about 20 miles south of downtown Los Angeles, according to a a press release from Torrance police.
The suspects, Gregory and Rachel Howell, were stopped in their truck in front of the victims’ car, the release said.
Gregory Howell got out of his vehicle, approached the victims’ car, and yelled “white power” as he made a Nazi salute. His wife got out and began cursing before yelling “only white lives matter,” police said.
KTLA identified the female victim as Itzel Lopez. She told the outlet that she and her boyfriend, who she said is Black, were going home after a birthday dinner when they noticed the Howells had been following them for several minutes.
When Lopez and her boyfriend approached a red light, the Howells drove in front of them.
A video of the incident was posted on an Instagram account believed to belong to Lopez. In the video, which contains profanities and hateful speech, Rachel Howell is seen giving Lopez the middle finger and saying “white lives matter b—-” and “only white lives matter.”
Gregory Howell is seen in the video standing near the front of the truck as he gives the Nazi salute.
“That’s crazy,” Lopez says in the video. “The s— we have to go through, 2020.”
As Lopez’s boyfriend, who is driving, starts to reverse the car to get away, Gregory Howell is seen grabbing a shovel and walking toward the vehicle.
“We were just in shock,” Lopez told KTLA. “We didn’t know what was going on. Never in my life did I think I was gonna experience this. It’s actually really scary. They don’t even know you and they’re willing to hurt you.”
Lopez did not immediately return NBC News’ request for comment Saturday.
Police said the victims filed a hate crime and vandalism report on July 23, the day after the incident.
The Howells, both 29, were arrested Friday and released that same day on bail, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s records. It’s not clear if they have obtained attorneys.
Efforts to reach either Gregory or Rachel Howell on Saturday were unsuccessful. Multiple numbers that could belong to them did not work, and a voicemail left at one number did not immediately receive a response.