A white man and woman who were filmed painting over a city-approved Black Lives Matter mural in Martinez, California, over the weekend are facing a hate crime charge, according to the Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office.
As previously reported, video footage of the incident, which was widely circulated on social media, showed the woman painting over the words of the titular racial injustice movement using a roller on the street in front of the city courthouse while the man argued with a group of onlookers.
"Keep that shit in f-----g New York. It's not happening in my town," the woman said in the video as she pours the can of black paint over the mural. When one witness asked the woman "what's wrong with you," her partner, wearing a red Trump shirt that read, "Four more years," responded by saying "we're sick of this narrative, that's what is wrong."
"The narrative of police brutality, the narrative of oppression, the narrative of racism, it's a lie," the man added before pointing to the Black Lives Matter sign and calling it "racism."
Shortly after the incident, the Martinez Police Department had started looking for the pair in the video and had sought the public's help in identifying them. The police had also released a photo of a white Nissan pickup truck used by the duo with the word "Nicole" written on the right side of the tailgate.
Charged with Three Misdemeanor Counts
David Nelson, 53, and Nicole Anderson, 42, are each charged with three misdemeanor counts, including violation of civil rights, vandalism, and possession of tools to commit vandalism or graffiti, the district attorney's office said in a statement.
"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," District Attorney Diana Becton said.
"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."
Community members had obtained the necessary permits for the mural, which has since been repainted, and is one of many that have been painted across the country, including in cities such as Washington, D.C., and New York, to show solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement following the death of George Floyd and other African Americans at the hands of law enforcement.