A white couple filmed shouting racist epithets and hitting the truck of a Black man in California last month have been arrested on hate crime and vandalism charges.
Gregory and Rachel Howell, both 29, were arrested by police in Torrance, California, on Friday, just over a week after video featuring the two harassing Itzel Lopez and her boyfriend, who is Black, went viral.
The footage filmed by Lopez shows the Howells exit their pickup truck while both couples were stopped at a red light in the Los Angeles metro area on the night of July 22.
Rachel approaches Lopez’s side of the vehicle and, raising dual middle fingers, shouts, “White lives matter, bitch!” She then repeats, “Only white lives matter, bitch!”
On the other side of the vehicle, Gregory throws a Nazi salute and says, “White power,” prompting Lopez and her boyfriend to erupt in disbelieving laughter.
“Crazy. The shit we have to go through in 2020,” Lopez remarks on the video.
The Howells then briefly return to their truck, where Gregory retrieves a shovel. He turns back to the other vehicle and slams the shovel into the driver’s side as Lopez’s boyfriend backs up and drives away ― carefully avoiding Rachel, who Lopez said kept moving to block their path.
Lopez, 25, told KTLA that she and her boyfriend were on their way home from her birthday dinner when the other truck appeared to follow them, tailing them for several miles.
“It really threw me off,” she told the local station. “Never in my life did I think I was gonna experience this,” she said. “It’s actually really scary. They don’t even know you and they’re willing to hurt you. It’s sad.”
A second video shared by Lopez shows the couple identifying the Howells’ license plate, which they then provided to police.