TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Two Sanford, Florida men were arrested following an attack on a Black teenager’s vehicle that many are calling racially-motivated.
The Washington Post reports the men, identified as Donald Corsi and Howard Hughes, were arrested on Tuesday, hours after video showing the incident went viral and triggered outrage online. The video was later deleted.
According to reports, the victim, identified by authorities as Jermaine Jones, posted the video on Tuesday, writing “I was racially profiled while driving through my friends neighborhood. They didn’t like the way I was driving, so they felt the need to hit my car with a cone, and throw a rock through my window.”
In the video, the men can be seen yelling at the teen and his friend, accusing them of street racing.
“Burning out racing through my (expletive) neighborhood,” one shouted.
“Get out of my neighborhood, (expletive),” the other yelled.
The teen can be heard asking one of the residents why he appears to have a gun.
“You’re the one who would get a gun! Get out of this neighborhood … You don’t belong here!” a woman at the scene yelled.
Jones said he had tried to de-escalate the situation by apologizing to the men, but that didn’t work.
The report from the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office said Hughes hurled an orange cone at the side of the car, denting a door. Corsi threw a stone at the vehicle and shattered a window.
“If I just were a white person driving through that neighborhood, I wouldn’t have been treated the way I was treated,” Jones told The Post.
The Post reports Hughes and Corsi were arrested hours later on felony charges of criminal mischief with property damage. Hughes also faces a misdemeanor charge of battery, and Corsi was charged with a felony weapons offense of throwing a deadly “missile” into a vehicle.
The incident happened in Sanford, the city where Trayvon Martin was killed by George Zimmerman in 2012. Martin’s death and Zimmerman’s acquittal sent shockwaves around the globe and helped spark the Black Lives Matter movement.
He said he rushed to the scene with his wife as soon as his son called him.
“If we were not there, [law enforcement] would have never charged [the men] though we had evidence right there,” said C.J. Jones said. “We could have lost our son that day.”