MARTINEZ, Calif. (KRON) – Two Northern California residents have been charged with a hate crime for defacing a Black Lives Matter mural on July 4, according to the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s office.
Forty-two-year-old Nicole Anderson and 53-year-old David Nelson face charges of violating civil rights, vandalism under $400 and possession of tools to commit vandalism or graffiti.
The two are accused of a hate crime for covering up a Martinez street mural with black paint.
Witnesses captured video of the incident, which has been widely shared on social media.
Another resident applied for a permit on July 1 to paint the Black Lives Matter mural in front of the Wakefield Taylor Courthouse in downtown Martinez. After getting approval, the resident painted the mural on July 4.
The DA’s office says the defendants showed up to the courthouse and began painting over the big, yellow letters with black paint.
If Anderson and Nelson are convicted, they face up to a year behind bars.
Due to the current bail schedule, the alleged offenses are exempt from a specific bail amount.
“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,” stated Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton. “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.”