California Couple Charged With 'Hate Crime' For Painting Over 'Black Lives Matter' Mural

Photo Credit: KPIX CBS SF Bay Area

Photo Credit: KPIX CBS SF Bay Area

On Tuesday, the Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office stated that two people, a white man and a white woman, are facing a hate crime charge after allegedly painting over a California Black Lives Matter mural.

David Nelson and Nicole Anderson are each facing three misdemeanor counts, including vandalism, violation of civil rights, and possession of tools to commit vandalism or graffiti, the district attorney's office said in a statement.

The incident occurred soon after the mural was painted on July 4 in front of the courthouse in Martinez, California.

Photo Credit: KPIX CBS SF Bay Area

Photo Credit: KPIX CBS SF Bay Area

"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 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 added. "We must continue to elevate discussions and actually listen to one another in an effort to heal our community and country."

The incident was captured on video, which showed a woman dressed in a red T-shirt and flip-flops painting over the yellow-lettered mural with black paint on Saturday. A man wearing a red Trump shirt that read "Four more years" was filming as the woman painted.

"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."

Photo Credit: KPIX CBS SF Bay Area

Photo Credit: KPIX CBS SF Bay Area

A bystander off-camera began arguing with the man, and asked him what was wrong with him and added, "This is racist, what you're doing."

The police had been looking for the two since the video surfaced.

"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," Martinez Police Chief Manjit Sappal said in the statement. "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."

At one point in the video, the woman stopped painting, and suggested that such murals remain in New York. "This is not happening in my town," she said.

Photo Credit: KPIX CBS SF Bay Area

Photo Credit: KPIX CBS SF Bay Area

The mural has since been repainted.

DA spokesman Scott Alonso said that Nelson and Anderson will be served notices to appear in court, but the date has not yet been released.

If convicted, each defendant could face up to a year in county jail.

Sources: America Now

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