Martinez, CA – A Contra Costa County couple were arrested and charged with a hate crime for painting over the letters spelling “Black Lives Matter” on the street in front of the courthouse in Martinez (video below).
The mural, similar to many that have been painted in cities across the country in the wake of the death of George Floyd in the custody of the Minneapolis police, was proposed by Martizians for Black Lives, ABC News reported.
It was approved and permitted on July 1 and completed by more than 100 community members on July 4.
A few hours later, a man and a woman arrived “with cans of paint and a roller with the specific purpose of vandalizing over the mural,” the Martinez Police Department said in a statement released on Sunday.
“The community spent a considerable amount of time putting the mural together only to have it painted over in a hateful and senseless manner,” the statement read.
Martinez police posted a link to the video of the incident and solicited help from the community to identify the perpetrators, ABC news reported.
The video showed the couple – later identified as 42-year-old Nicole Anderson and 53-year-old David Nelson – arguing with people as Anderson rolled black paint on to the “B” and “L” of the mural and Nelson filmed it.
“What are you doing?” and “What is wrong with you?” onlookers off-camera asked in the video.
“We’re sick of this narrative, that’s what’s wrong,” Nelson replied. “The narrative of police brutality, the narrative of oppression, the narrative of racism, it’s a lie.”
“This is racism. There is no oppression. There is no racism. It’s a leftist lie. It’s a lie from the media, the liberal left,” he said.
“You can’t be that stupid, can you?” somebody off-camera asked.
“No, but you are,” Nelson replied.
“Keep this s–t in f–king New York, this is not happening my town,” Anderson suddenly screamed at onlookers in the video.
Then she resumed rolling black paint over the bright yellow letters on the pavement and asked Nelson to go get her other can of paint, the video showed.
Anderson wore a shirt with a heart-shaped American flag on it for her painting deed.
Nelson was wearing a “Trump Four More Years” t-shirt and a Make America Great Again hat, the video showed.
The Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office charged Anderson and Nelson each with three misdemeanor counts, including violation of civil rights, vandalism, and possession of tools to commit vandalism or graffiti, CNN reported.
“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,” Becton continued. “We must continue to elevate discussions and actually listen to one another in an effort to heal our community and country.”
The mural was repainted shortly after the incident, and surrounded by chalk images, KPIX reported.
Watch the incident unfold in the video below. WARNING – Obscene Language: