A couple has been charged with a hate crime after they were seen on video spilling and rolling paint over a Black Lives Matter mural in Martinez, California.
The Contra Costa district attorney's office said in a statement that Nicole Anderson, 42, and David Nelson, 53, were each charged with three misdemeanor counts, including the hate crime.
Activists created the mural on July 4 after applying for a permit, which was granted by the city.
Anderson and Nelson could be heard in the video cursing at onlookers and arguing that "there is no oppression, there is no racism."
California prosecutors charged a couple with a hate crime after they were seen on video covering up a Black Lives Matter mural with black paint
Nicole Anderson, 42, and David Nelson, 53, were seen on video taking a paint roller to black out the letters "B" and "L" from the mural in front of a courthouse in downtown Martinez.
Both Anderson and Nelson were charged with one count of violation of civil rights, one count of vandalism under $400, and one count of possession of tools to commit vandalism or graffiti. Each charge was a misdemeanor.
The Contra Costa district attorney's office said in a statement that the Black Lives Matter mural was created July 4 after a Martinez resident received a permit from the city to complete the project.
"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," District Attorney Diana Becton said. "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."
But Anderson and Nelson were seen in the video rejecting the movement and arguing with onlookers who asked why they were defacing the mural.
"We're sick of this narrative. That's what's wrong," Nelson said in the video. "The narrative of police brutality, the narrative of oppression, the narrative of racism. It's a lie. This is racism is what it is. There is no oppression, there is no racism, it's a leftist lie. It's a lie from the media — the liberal left."
Nelson, who appeared to be decked out in Trump campaign apparel, also shouted, "No one wants Black Lives Matter here" and "f---ing keep America great, that's right" at the onlookers.
When one bystander called Anderson an "idiot," she responded, "Keep this s--- in f---ing New York — this is not happening in my town."
After the video of the couple began circulating on social media, the Martinez Police Department put out a call asking for the public's assistance in identifying the couple, saying it appeared they arrived at the mural with paint and a roller "with the specific purpose of vandalizing over the mural."
"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 police department said in a statement. "The City of Martinez values tolerance and the damage to the mural was divisive and hurtful."
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