Couple charged with hate crime for vandalizing Black Lives Matter mural
MARTINEZ, CA - A couple seen on video defacing a large Black Lives Matter mural in California is now facing criminal charges.
Contra Costa District Attorney's office says it is charging Nicole Anderson, 42, and David Nelson, 53, after video shared on social media showed the pair painting over some the yellow letters reading "Black Lives Matter" in black paint.
The man in the video, identified as Nelson, was heard shouting, "There is no racism. It's a leftist lie," and, "No one wants Black Lives Matter here."
Anderson was the one seen painting over the letters, while Nelson stood alongside her and at one point fetched another can of paint from a car. Neither responded to ABC News' requests for comments.
The mural, painted in front of a courthouse in downtown Martinez, was approved through a permit on July 1, according to the district attorney's office. It was completed July 4, the same day it was defaced.
Police said the couple showed up "with cans of 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 Martinez Police Department said in a statement.
In addition to the hate crime, Anderson and Nelson also face charges of vandalism and possession of tools to commit vandalism or graffiti. If convicted, each could receive up to a year in county jail.
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