By Phil Helsel and Diana Dasrath
Two San Francisco-area residents accused of painting over a “Black Lives Matter” mural are facing hate crime charges.
Nicole Anderson, 42, and David Nelson, 53, both of Martinez, were charged Tuesday with three misdemeanor counts, including a hate crime violation, the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office said in a statement.
The July 4 incident was captured on video that shows a woman splattering black paint on the yellow block letters on a downtown Martinez street and then using a roller to cover some of the letters in the mural, which was city approved.
In the video, which had previously been shared on social media and by the Martinez Police Department, a man can be heard saying, “the narrative of police brutality, the narrative of oppression, the narrative of racism, it’s a lie.”
The woman painting says “keep this [expletive] in New York. This is not happening in my town.”
Both are white, and the man is wearing what appears to be a “Make America Great Again” hat and a shirt with the words Trump and “Four More Years.”
Police confirmed that the two people seen in that video are Anderson and Nelson, a spokesman for the district attorney’s office said. Anderson painted over part of the mural, and Nelson “directly aided in the alleged criminal conduct,” the district attorney’s office said.
Both are charged with violation of civil rights; vandalism under $400; and possession of tools to commit vandalism or graffiti; which are all misdemeanors, according to the district attorney’s office.
Police have said that the mural was completed on July 4, and that both went to the mural with the purpose of painting over it.
If convicted, they face up to a year in county jail.
Phone messages to numbers that appear linked to Anderson or Nelson in public records were not immediately returned Tuesday night. It was not immediately clear if either had an attorney.