- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 7, 2020

A pair of Martinez, California residents accused of painting over a Black Lives Matter mural were charged with hate crimes, local authorities said late Tuesday.

Nichole Anderson, 42, and David Nelson, 53, were each charged with three misdemeanor counts, including a hate crime, the Contra County District Attorney said in a statement.

The pair on Saturday arrived just after the mural was finished, prosecutors said. Ms. Anderson used black paint and a large paint roller to cover up the letters “B” and “L” in the word “Black,” according to the statement.

Mr. Nelson, who was wearing a Make America Great Again hat, was caught on video defacing the mural. He argued with onlookers as he brought Ms. Anderson more paint, according to the video which was widely shared on social media.

“No one wants Black Lives Matter here,” he said in the video. “We’re sick of this narrative. The narrative of police brutality, the narrative of oppression, the narrative of racism. It’s a lie. It’s a lie.”



Both Ms. Anderson and Mr. Nelson were charged with violation of civil rights, vandalism under $400 and possession of tools to commit vandalism or graffiti.

If convicted, the pair could face up to a year in county jail.

“The community spent a considerable amount of time putting the mural together only to have it painted over in a hateful and senseless manner,” Martinez Police Chief Manjit Sappal said in a statement. “The city of Martinez values tolerance, and the damage to the mural was divisive and hurtful.”

Contra County District Attorney Diana Becton said discussions on racism must be elevated and called on residents to listen to each other.

“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,” she 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.”-

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