Martinez Residents Charged with Hate Crime After Defacing BLM Mural

Nichole Anderson (pictured) and David Nelson from Martinez have been charged with three misdemeanors, including a hate crime, for attempting to deface a city-permitted Black Lives Matter mural. (YouTube)

After a viral video showed a man and a woman attempting to deface a Black Lives Matter mural in front of a Martinez courthouse, the Contra Costa County district attorney announced today that the pair is being charged with three misdemeanors, including a hate crime.

The incident unfolded on July 4, hours after another resident completed the mural, which features the words “Black Lives Matter” in large, yellow letters on the asphalt. The original mural was permitted by the city, whose demographic makeup is 75% white and 3.6% Black, according to the latest census estimates. Hours after it was completed, Martinez residents Nichole Anderson, 42, and David Nelson, 53, allegedly arrived with buckets of paint and rollers; Anderson attempted to cover the letters with black paint while Nelson yelled at onlookers, shouting “Keep America great again” and “All lives matter.”

In the video, Nelson wears a red “Make America Great Again” hat and a shirt that reads “Four more years.”

“We’re sick of this narrative. That’s what’s wrong,” Nelson told passersby. “The narrative of police brutality. The narrative of oppression. The narrative of racism. It’s a lie. There is no oppression. There is no racism. It’s a leftist lie. It’s a lie from the media, the liberal left.”

Nelson and Anderson have been charged with violation of civil rights, vandalism under $400 and possession of tools to commit vandalism or graffiti. If convicted, they could face a year in county jail.

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“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,” Contra Costa County 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. We must continue to elevate discussions and actually listen to one another in an effort to heal our community and country.”