Days after two Donald Trump supporters were spotted vandalizing a Black Lives Matter mural in California, two individuals have been charged with a hate crime for their alleged involvement in the matter, per CNN. David Nelson, 53, and Nicole Anderson, 42, have each been charged with three misdemeanor counts, including violation of civil rights, vandalism, and possession of tools to commit vandalism or graffiti. This initial incident occurred just after artists painted the mural in front of the Martinez, California, courthouse on July 4.
District Attorney Diana Becton of Contra Costa County released a statement about these charges in which she expressed that the Black Lives Matter movement is one that deserves the world's attention and respect. "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," Becton said. She continued to comment on the crime that Nelson and Anderson allegedly committed. "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," she added. "We must continue to elevate discussions and actually listen to one another in an effort to heal our community and country." CNN did reach out to both Anderson and Nelson for comment, with Nelson responding with, "I have no comment — for you anyway." The outlet was not able to reach Anderson.
This whole matter began when two individuals started to vandalize the Black Lives Matter mural. A woman could be seen painting over the painting with black paint while a man wearing a Trump shirt filmed. While many others spoke out when they saw the two committing the act of vandalism, the individuals were steadfast in trying to deface the mural. At one point in the video, the man could be heard saying, "We're sick of this narrative, that's what's wrong. The narrative of police brutality, the narrative of oppression, the narrative of racism, it's a lie."
As a result of their actions, the two people who vandalized the mural were wanted by police, which ultimately led to the charges against Anderson and Nelson. Police Chief Manjit Sappal urged the public to help identify the two individuals in the aforementioned video so that they could be charged. He said, "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 City of Martinez values tolerance and the damage to the mural was divisive and hurtful. Please help us identify those that are responsible for this crime, so they can be held accountable for their actions."