A man was caught on video last week spewing hateful rhetoric and obscenities at a Houston mother who said she was on her way to vote.
The incident took place in Houston’s Spring Branch neighborhood, just a half-block from a voting location where Janet Sabriu, a U.S. citizen and nine-year Houston resident, hoped to hit the polls early Thursday.
In the video, the man, who appears to be white and is driving a silver Nissan, is shown screaming out of his window while accusing Sabriu of driving in two lanes.
"That’s not how we drive in America,” the man yelled from his window as she pulled up next to his vehicle. “Trump’s deporting your illegal cousins, today, b----.”
Sabriu asked whether the man had voted — a question he ignored before continuing his expletive-filled diatribe. She then turns the camera to her 2-year-old daughter, who watched from the back seat.
“Learn English,” the man said, continuing to use profanity before ordering Sabriu to leave the United States. “It’s my country."
The one-minute video was posted Thursday to Facebook, where it has been viewed more than 3 million times as of Monday afternoon. Sabriu said in an interview with CBS affiliate KHOU she began filming because the verbal assault reminded her of a recent incident involving a friend’s son, who faced similarly hateful speech at a restaurant.
Sabriu could not be reached for comment Monday morning. She told KHOU she’d filed a police report and wants an apology from the man.
“It’s not okay, racists. It’s not okay [to allow] bullying,” she told the television station. “We have to stop all this hate, and the only way is respecting everybody; every human being.”
She said she hopes the video will encourage others to also record when they are confronted with racist, hateful speech.
“That’s the best lesson you can show somebody,” Sabriu told KHOU. “Speak up. Don’t be afraid. That’s the only way that we can stop all this hate is just showing and exposing the people because I think the majority (are) good people that don’t want this to continue.”
On Saturday, the man in the video, who identified himself to KTRK News as Kevin, apologized for the incident after claiming he had received death threats. He said he knows he reacted in a poor manner but he also said he suffers from bipolar disorder, stating, “It’s very real, it’s not a joke, it’s not an excuse.”
“All I want to say to her is, ‘Miss, I’m so sorry, I hope you can understand more, and I wish you nothing more than love and happiness for your family,’ ” Kevin told the ABC affiliate. He also said he would have never yelled at Sabriu if he knew she had a child with her in the car.
With the midterms just nine days away, Texas is in the midst of a highly contested Senate race involving Sen. Ted Cruz (R), who is being challenged by Democratic opponent Rep. Beto O’Rourke. Early voting began Oct. 22.