Two California residents were charged with a hate crime and other offenses Tuesday after they were captured on video allegedly covering up a Black Lives Matter mural.
The Conta Costa District Attorney’s Office identified the pair as Nicole Anderson, 42, and David Richard Nelson, 53, both of Martinez.
“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.
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Cell phone video recorded by a witness in Martinez, Calif., allegedly showed Anderson using black paint and a roller brush to cover over the mural, specifically the letters “B” and “L” in the word “Black" on the Fourth of July.
A heated confrontation ensued between supporters of the mural and Nelson, who was allegedly heard yelling "All lives matter!" according to the video.
Activists with a local Black Lives Matter movement had painted the slogan outside a courthouse in Martinez earlier on July 4 in big yellow letters. The mural was painted over by the two suspects within an hour of it being completed, FOX 2 of the Bay Area reported.
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Justin Gomez, an organizer with Martizians for Black Lives, told the station he obtained a city permit for the mural.
“We were very aware that it could be vandalized,” Gomez said. “I was more so shocked at how brazen it was. That vandalism occurred an hour after we finished and we were down here moments later and we fixed it.”
District attorney's office spokesman Scott Alonso said it wasn't clear what Anderson and Nelson's relationship was.
The two residents were charged with violation of civil rights, vandalism under $400, and possession of tools to commit vandalism or graffiti, according to the district attorney’s office.
“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," Becton said. "We must continue to elevate discussions and actually listen to one another in an effort to heal our community and country.”
Due to the current bail schedule amid the coronavirus pandemic, the alleged offenses are exempt from a specific bail amount. If convicted, the suspects face up to a year in county jail.
Meanwhile, authorities arrested a man Sunday for pointing a gun at someone at the mural site, after he drove by while shouting, “All lives matter!" according to the station.
Martinez is about 35 miles northeast of San Francisco.
These are they who have bartered Guidance for error: But their traffic is profitless, and they have lost true direction, Their similitude is that of a man who kindled a fire; when it lighted all around him, Allah took away their light and left them in utter darkness. So they could not see.Deaf, dumb, and blind, they will not return (to the path). (The Cow 16-18 )