Two residents of Martinez, California, who allegedly vandalized a Black Lives Matter street mural on Independence Day have been charged with a hate crime, officials said Tuesday.
The Contra Costa County District Attorney’s office said Nichole Anderson, 42, and David Nelson, 53, face three misdemeanor charges, including vandalism, for allegedly painting over the mural on Saturday ― shortly after it was completed by community members outside a county courthouse in Martinez.
If convicted, Anderson and Nelson face up to a year in county jail, Becton’s office said.
A local resident had obtained a permit from the city to paint the mural, police said.
A couple spent the 4th of July painting over a portion of the Black Lives Matter street mural in downtown Martinez. It happened about 2:30 this afternoon and a bystander captured it on video. Caution: graphic language #BLM #BlackLivesMatter #FourthofJuly pic.twitter.com/Kq8PuXgJ44
— Jodi Hernandez (@JodiHernandezTV) July 5, 2020
Video of the defacement, captured by an onlooker, shows a woman in a red shirt with an American flag design using black paint and a roller to cover part of the mural.
A man in a MAGA hat and T-shirt that reads “Trump” and “Four More Years” accompanied the woman and recorded onlookers as they shouted at them to stop vandalizing the mural.
“There is no racism,” the man said in the video. “It’s a leftist lie. It’s a lie from the media, the liberal left.”
BREAKING: The #Martinez couple caught on video painting over the approved #BlackLivesMatter mural on #FourthofJuly are being charged with a hate crime, according to a release from the #ContraCostaCounty District Attorney's office. pic.twitter.com/9L21byNsE1
— KCBS 106.9 FM/740 AM (@KCBSRadio) July 7, 2020
The mural was a “peaceful and powerful way to communicate the importance of Black lives,” Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton said in a statement.
“We must address the root and byproduct of systemic racism in our country,” she said. “The Black Lives Matter movement is an important civil rights cause that deserves all of our attention.”
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.