Two supporters of President Donald Trump painted over a Black Lives Matter street mural in Martinez, California Saturday, and they are reportedly wanted by police. The mural was sanctioned by the Bay Area city and located on the street in front of the Contra County courthouse in downtown. The couple was seen rolling black paint over the "B" in "Black" and residents restored the mural after the two were chased away.
The Trump supporters and vandals began painting over the "B" at around 2:30 in the afternoon. The man wore a "Make America Great Again" hat and a "Four More Years" shirt. In one video of the incident, the woman is heard saying "This is not happening in my town" as she painted. A witness snapped a photo of the suspects' Nissan pickup truck and gave it to police. The pickup truck has the world "NICOL" on the right side in silver lettering and the license plate number 52701B1, reports Patch.com.
Karen and Chad were so offended by the BLM street mural outside of the courthouse in Martinez, California, that they spent their 4th of July painting over it!! The mural was just completed a few hours before this. 😳😱🤯 pic.twitter.com/Lc1lQLnkGp— Jackfroot (@jackfrootnews) July 5, 2020
During the video, the man is heard yelling at onlookers, "Keep America great again, that’s right. Why don’t you guys learn about history, the Emancipation Proclamation Act?" He later said, "You're only free because of our forefathers." A woman was heard yelling back at him, calling him a "colonizer" and telling him his ancestors "aren't from here." The man in the Trump shirt yelled back, "You don't know nothing."
City Councilwoman Noralea Gipner called the vandalism "hostility in an ugly form," adding that activists were allowed to paint the mural, but "permission was not given to deface it." According to police, the couple went to the courthouse "with the specific purpose of vandalizing over the mural." They noted the "community spent a considerable amount of time painting this mural only to have the suspects destroy it by dumping and rolling paint over part of the message."
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
"The community spent a considerable amount of time putting the mural together only to have it painted over in a hateful and senseless manner," Police Chief Manjit Sappal said Sunday. "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."
More than 100 people helped paint the mural early Saturday. The painting was organized by the Martizians for Black Lives, which got permission from the city. It was inspired by similar Black Lives Matter street murals across the county. The group's lead facilitator, Justin Gomez, said they were also inspired to act after residents found anti-Black Lives Matters fliers late last month. "People have now seen racism in their community; now we have to confront it," Gomez told Patch.com.