Duo Charged with Hate Crime for Painting Over 'Black Lives Matter' Mural on Public Street

Law enforcement officials in California have charged a man and woman with a hate crime after they allegedly painted over a Black Lives Matter mural that was on a public street.

Nichole Anderson, 42, and David Nelson, 53, were charged with three misdemeanor accounts, including a hate crime, according to an announcement by the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s office.

“On July 1, a local Martinez resident applied for a permit to paint a Black Lives Matter temporary mural in downtown Martinez in front of the Wakefield Taylor Courthouse,” the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s office said in an official statement. “The permit was approved by the City of Martinez and the painting was done on July 4.”

“Anderson covered up a Black Lives Matter mural with black paint,” the statement continued. “Nelson directly aided in the alleged criminal conduct. The incident was captured on video by witnesses.”

“Nelson and Anderson arrived at the scene of the mural after it was completed with paint supplies,” the statement stated. “Anderson started to paint over the yellow letters ‘B’ and ‘L’ in the word ‘Black.’ She used black paint and a large paint roller to do so. The video has been shared widely by witnesses and shared on social media.”

The two were charged with Violation of Civil Rights, Vandalism Under $400, and Possession of Tools to Commit Vandalism or Graffiti. They face up to a year in a county jail if convicted, but are “exempt from a specific bail amount due to the current county bail schedule in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The Martinez Police Department released a statement saying “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 City of Martinez values tolerance and the damage to the mural was divisive and hurtful,” the statement also said.

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