On Tuesday, Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office released a statement about two white people charged with a hate crime after painting over a California community’s Black Lives Matter mural.
David Nelson, 53, and Nicole Anderson, 42 are charged with three misdemeanor counts, including violation of civil rights, vandalism, and possession of tools to commit vandalism. The incident happened soon after the mural was painted in front of the courthouse in Martinez, California, on July 4.
“We must address the root and byproduct of systemic racism in our country. The Black Lives Matter movement is an important civil rights cause that deserves all of our attention,” Diana Becton, District Attorney, said in a statement.
“The mural completed last weekend was a peaceful and powerful way to communicate the importance of Black lives in Contra Costa County and the country,” she said. “We must continue to elevate discussions and actually listen to one another in an effort to heal our community and country.”
In a Youtube video, a woman, wearing a red T-shirt and flip-flops, began painting over the yellow-lettered mural with black paint, while a man wearing a red Trump shirt that read “Four more years” began filming as the woman started painting.
“We’re sick of this narrative, that’s what’s wrong,” the man said in the video. “The narrative of police brutality, the narrative of oppression, the narrative of racism, it’s a lie.”
A bystander can be heard arguing with the man. She asked what was wrong with him before adding, “This is racist, what you’re doing.”
According to Martinez Police Chief Manjit Sappal, residents of Martinez, California got a permit from the city to paint a Black Lives Matter mural on July 4.
“It appeared that the couple came to the mural with cans of paint and a roller with the specific purpose of vandalizing over the mural,” Sappal said.
“The community spent a considerable amount of time painting this mural only to have the suspects destroy it by dumping and rolling paint over part of the message.”
During the incident, the woman stopped painting to voice her thoughts, suggesting that such murals be kept in New York. “This is not happening in my town,” she said.
According to the KPIX report, the mural was repainted after the incident, and the area was blocked off. The mural was surrounded by chalk images as of Sunday afternoon.