Two charged with hate crime after Black Lives Matter mural vandalised

Pair could face a year in jail if convicted

Azi Paybarah
Wednesday 08 July 2020 10:06
California police seeking white man and woman who defaced Black Lives Matter mural

Two white people in California were charged with a hate crime and other offences on Tuesday after video appeared to show them vandalising a Black Lives Matter mural on 4 July, officials said.

The two were identified by the Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office as Nicole Claudia Anderson and David Richard Nelson, both of Martinez, California.

Diana Becton, the district attorney, said: “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.”

The mural was painted on 4 July in front of a courthouse in Martinez, a site that was selected by the city when it issued a permit to the mural’s organiser. Within an hour of its completion, it was vandalised, said the organiser, Justin Gomez.

Video of the episode showed a woman using black paint and a roller brush to cover the letters “B” and “L”. She was joined by a man in a red cap and a red shirt that read “Trump” and “Four More Years”, who can be heard saying: “We’re sick of this narrative” and “the narrative of police brutality, the narrative of oppression, the narrative of racism. It’s a lie. It’s a lie”.

The woman, using two expletives, tells onlookers to “keep this” in New York, adding: “This is not happening in my town.”

The mural has been restored and residents were “maintaining a presence” to prevent further damage, Mr Gomez had said.

In addition to the hate crime charges, the two people each face a charge of vandalism under $400 (£320) and possession of tools to commit vandalism or graffiti. All the charges are misdemeanours and no court date has been scheduled, according to a spokesperson for the district attorney’s office.

If convicted, the couple face up to a year in jail, the district attorney’s office said.

The New York Times

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