Warning: Distressing Content
Two people have been arrested after going on a racist rant in a road rage incident that saw them vandalising a vehicle while telling those inside ‘only white lives matter’.
Married couple Gregory Howell, a 29-year-old from Carson, California, and Rachel Howell, a 29-year-old from Seal Beach, California, were caught on camera acting aggressively towards Itzel Lopez and her boyfriend, who is Black.
The incident took place in Torrance on July 22, Lopez’s 25th birthday, with Lopez filming the whole thing on her phone when she realised the man and woman were heading towards their vehicle in a threatening manner.
You can watch the racist attack unfold below. Warning, distressing content:
Lopez and her boyfriend were travelling home after a birthday meal out when they noticed two people in a pickup truck following them for several minutes.
As they approached a red light at around 10.30pm, police said the suspects stopped their truck in front of the victims’ vehicle before exiting the truck and approaching Lopez and her boyfriend.
It’s at this point the 25-year-old started filming, with footage showing Gregory Howell yelling ‘white power’ while doing a Nazi salute in front of Lopez’ boyfriend. Rachel Howell can be heard yelling, ‘White lives matter b*tch,’ before adding: ‘Only white lives matter.’
In the next moment, Gregory Howell can be seen grabbing something from the pickup truck before approaching the couple’s car. Police identified this object as a shovel and said Howell ‘hit the victim’s the car as the victim drove away’.
The victims filed a hate crime and vandalism report with Torrance Police the following day on July 23, the department said, with a statement from the force saying the Howell’s had been arrested for ‘hate crimes’ and ‘vandalism’ on Friday, July 31.
‘We want to get justice because it’s not right,’ Lopez told KTLA 5. ‘I don’t want them to just go freely and continue to do this to someone else.’
Lopez said she and her boyfriend were ‘in shock’ when they realised what was happening. ‘We didn’t know what was going on,’ she said. ‘Why were they doing it? They don’t know us. They were being really mean and racist.’
She added that, despite them trying to ‘get away’ from the couple, the woman ‘kept standing in front of the car and wouldn’t let [them] leave’. She was left feeling ‘afraid’, stating: ‘I didn’t know what they had in their car. I just wanted to get home.’
The 25-year-old said the incident has taken an emotional toll on her, as she ‘never’ thought she would have to experience something as ‘scary’ as this. ‘They don’t even know you and they’re willing to hurt you,’ she added. ‘It’s sad.’
Further information about the couple’s arrests has not been released.
Hopefully justice will be served and Lopez and her boyfriend will be able to move forward with their lives.
If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence, contact Stop Hate UK by visiting their website www.stophateuk.org/talk