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TORRANCE, California – A husband and wife in Southern California were arrested last week for hate crime and vandalism. The incident reportedly happened after the suspects climbed out of their truck at a traffic light, greeted the Nazis and called a black man and his girlfriend "just white things" when they hit the victim's car with a shovel .
Gregory and Rachel Howell, both 29, were arrested on Friday for vandalism and hate crime, Torrance police said in a press release. Both were released on bail the same day, according to records from the Los Angeles Sheriff's Office.
Two arrested for hate crime / vandalism #Torrance #SouthBay pic.twitter.com/f5dwcIqAsl
– Torrance Police (@TorrancePD) August 1, 2020
A woman named Itzel Lopez said she was in the passenger seat while her boyfriend, who is black, drove home from her birthday party on the night of July 23 when they noticed two people in a pickup truck who were following them for a few minutes , KTLA reports.
She said the pickup had cut off in front of them when they approached a red light at the intersection of Artesia Boulevard and Prairie Avenue around 10:30 p.m. in Torrance, California. The traffic situation soon escalated and Lopez started recording on her cell phone when a man and a woman jumped out of their pickup and approached the vehicle in which they were driving.
The video posted on Lopez & # 39; Instagram shows a woman identified as Rachel Howell, turning her middle finger and shouting "All life is important". Then she shouts: "Only white lives are important." The man identified as Gregory Howell is shown how he screams "white power" and makes a Nazi hand salute. Then he fetches a shovel and allegedly hits the victims' car as they drove away. The driver's side mirror of the victims' vehicle was also damaged at some point before Lopez and her boyfriend left.
"We tried to get away. She was still in front of the car and did not let us go, ”said Lopez.
"We were just in shock. We didn't know what was going on, ”Lopez told KTLA. “Never in my life would I have thought that I would experience this. It’s really scary. They don't even know you and are ready to hurt you. "
The victims submitted a report to the Torrance police the next day on July 23. Arrest warrants were issued on July 24. Both suspects were found and arrested on Friday a week later.
"We want justice because it is not right," said Lopez last week. "I don't want them to just go free and keep doing this to someone else."