July 7, 2020
The couple recorded defacing a Black Lives Matter mural that was painted in front of a California courthouse has been charged with three misdemeanors, including a hate crime, prosecutors today announced.
David Nelson, 53, and Nicole Anderson, 42, are each facing misdemeanor charges in connection with a July 4 incident in Martinez, a city about 25 miles from San Francisco. The decision to charge the couple was made by officials with the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s office.
Nelson and Anderson are each charged with violation of civil rights, vandalism, and possession of tools to commit vandalism. If convicted of the charges, the defendants–who share a Martinez address–face up to a year in the county jail.
Nelson and Anderson brazenly defaced the yellow BLM mural about an hour after it was painted Saturday afternoon. As seen in videos taken by onlookers, Anderson used a roller with black paint to cover the letters B and L.
The mural, which was painted with the permission of city officials, was quickly restored after Saturday’s vandalism.
While Anderson painted, Nelson retrieved a second can of black paint from the pair’s Nissan truck. Nelson, who was wearing a Make America Great Again hat and a Trump reelection t-shirt, declared, “The narrative of police brutality, the narrative of oppression, the narrative of racism. It’s a lie.”
When a bystander told the couple that, “No one wants you here,” Nelson (seen at right) replied, “No one wants Black Lives Matter here.” He also noted, “Fucking keep America great again, that’s right,” and that the BLM street mural “is racism.”
By the time cops responded to 911 calls about the vandalism, Nelson and Anderson had fled the scene. In a statement, Police Chief Manjit Sappal said that, “The community spent a considerable amount of time putting the mural together only to have it painted over in a hateful and senseless manner.” He added that “the damage to the mural was divisive and hurtful.”
Last week, Martinez police reported seizing flyers “containing hate speech” from a downtown sidewalk. The flyers, Sappal said, “made threats of harm to those supporting the Black Lives Matter movement in the name of an organization called ‘White Pride World Wide.’”
According to Superior Court records, Anderson filed in March 2004 for a domestic violence protection order against Nelson. Following a hearing, a three-year restraining order was issued by a judge. Anderson is identified as the “protected party” in a court docket, while Nelson is referred to as the “restrained person.”