Local sheriff’s detectives are investigating what they believe is a hate crime committed Tuesday by a woman who was arrested on suspicion of terrorizing someone and causing fear, a felony.
The incident happened late Tuesday morning near the United States Marines Corps recruiting office on Valencia Boulevard at the Westfield Valencia Town Center mall.
A 45-year-old woman was arrested about 11:45 a.m.
“A person threatened someone at the Marine Corps Recruiting office,” said Lt. Leo Bauer of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station.
“This is considered a hate crime since derogatory comments were directed at an African American recruiter,” he said, noting the threats were verbal and not physical.
Several people near the recruiting station, which is near the food court entrance to the mall, witnessed the barrage of comments made.
The woman arrested was identified by at least two lieutenants as Zhoie Perez, of La Mirada.
Reports of the incident created a buzz online when it became known that Perez, who refers to herself as “Furry Potato” online, had been arrested.
Several Youtube videos and online discussions emerged in response to the arrest, arguing she had a right to say what she wanted, citing freedom of speech.
On online search of “Zhoie Perez” and “Furry Potato” revealed the profile of a woman describing herself as an “investigative journalist.”
Perez is scheduled to appear in San Fernando Superior Court July 3.
She was released from custody shortly after midnight Tuesday.