California couple who painted over Black Lives Matter mural plead not guilty to 'outrageous and politicized' hate crime charges

A California couple who were seen in viral video painting over a Black Lives Matter mural have pleaded not guilty to hate crime charges, with their attorney calling the allegations against them 'outrageous and politicized.' 
Nicole Anderson and David Nelson arrived at the courthouse in Martinez on Tuesday to enter pleas of not guilty to three misdemeanor counts, including vandalism and hate crime, stemming from last month's incident. 
Anderson, 42, and Nelson, 53, were captured on video on July 4 defacing a city-sanctioned Black Lives Matter mural in front of the Wakefield Taylor Courthouse by painting over it with black paint. 


Nicole Anderson and David Nelson (center) on Tuesday pleaded not guilty to three misdemeanor counts, including vandalism and hate crime, for defacing a BLM mural
Nicole Anderson and David Nelson (center) on Tuesday pleaded not guilty to three misdemeanor counts, including vandalism and hate crime, for defacing a BLM mural
The pair did not speak after the hearing, but their lawyer slammed the hate crime charges as 'outrageous and politicized'
The pair did not speak after the hearing, but their lawyer slammed the hate crime charges as 'outrageous and politicized' 
The couple did not comment on the allegations against them on Tuesday following their brief court appearance, but their defense lawyer, Bill Essayli, addressed reporters outside court, accusing Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton of overcharging his clients. 
'Had she just charged vandalism, that would be a whole different issue,' Essayli said. 'The fact that she charged it as vandalism and as a hate crime is really what makes this problematic. It’s a reach, it’s an overcharge. In our view, it’s a political message, and the justice system should not be weaponized in that manner.'
According to the district attorney's office, a Martinez resident applied for a permit to paint the temporary mural in front of the local courthouse on July 1. The permit was approved and the painting took place three days later. 
Nelson, wearing an American flag-themed T-shirt, and Anderson, decked out in Donald Trump campaign attire, arrived at the scene of the mural after it was completed with paint supplies. 
Anderson was caught on camera using a large paint roller to paint over the letters 'B' and 'L' in the word Black, which had been painted yellow. 
When one witness asks the woman 'what's wrong with you,' her male companion replies 'we're sick of the narrative, that's what is wrong'.
'The narrative of police brutality, the narrative of oppression, the narrative of racism, it's a lie,' Nelson, sporting his 'MAGA' hat, adds.
Nelson, who was recording the incident, then points to the Black Lives Matter sign and calls it 'racism'.
An argument is sparked between Nelson and onlookers while Anderson continues to damage the mural.
'There is no oppression. There is no racism,' Nelson says. 'It's a leftist lie...from the media.'
Anderson then becomes enraged at the witnesses and exclaims 'keep that s****' in f****** New York! It's not happening in my town!'


Video of Anderson painting over the mural outside the Martinez, California, courthouse on July 4 has gone viral
Nelson, seen decked out in Trump campaign attire, stood by
Video of Anderson painting over the mural outside the Martinez, California, courthouse on July 4 has gone viral. Nelson, seen decked out in Trump campaign attire, stood by 
Video of Anderson painting over the mural outside the Martinez, California, courthouse on July 4 has gone viral
Nelson, seen decked out in Trump campaign attire, stood by
Video of Anderson painting over the mural outside the Martinez, California, courthouse on July 4 has gone viral. Nelson, seen decked out in Trump campaign attire, stood by 
Anderson and Nelson arrived with paint supplies just hours after the mural had been finished
Anderson and Nelson arrived with paint supplies just hours after the mural had been finished
The mural honoring the Black Lives Matter movement has since been repainted
The mural honoring the Black Lives Matter movement has since been repainted 
In the wake of the vandalism, protests were held in Martinez and the city's mayor spoke out against all hate crimes. 
But according to Essayli, his clients' actions did not amount to a civil rights violation. 
'It was done to express a viewpoint that they disagreed with the city endorsing [the] Black Lives Matter organization, which I said is anti-police and its anti-American,' Essayli said. 
The lawyer, who previously ran an unsuccessful campaign for a state office as a Republican, accused the district attorney of being funded by democratic billionaire donor George Soros and criminalizing different political views, reported The Mercury News. 
'Just as peaceful protesters have the right to march and display their political views in a myriad of different ways, they have the same right to display their dissatisfaction and disagreement with their tax dollars being used to sponsor a radical organization, Black Lives Matter,' Essayli said, according to KABC
The defaced mural has since been repainted. Nelson and Anderson are due back in court on October 13. 
Both Nelson and Anderson are charged with violation of civil rights, vandalism under $400 and possession of tools to commit vandalism or graffiti.
If convicted, both defendants face up to a year in county jail.
Multiple BLM murals have been painted in cities around the US, including this one along Fulton Street in Brooklyn
Multiple BLM murals have been painted in cities around the US, including this one along Fulton Street in Brooklyn 
The first Black Lives Matter mural was painted in Washington, DC, near the White House in June amid protests against systemic racism and police brutality sparked by the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. 
Murals for the movement soon started appearing in major cities like New York City, where Mayor Bill de Blasio last month sanctioned the painting of a giant Black Lives Matter sign outside the Trump Tower in Midtown Manhattan. 
The Manhattan mural has since been defaced multiple times, most recently on July 17, when three people were arrested for throwing paint on the letters.   
California couple who painted over Black Lives Matter mural plead not guilty to 'outrageous and politicized' hate crime charges California couple who painted over Black Lives Matter mural plead not guilty to 'outrageous and politicized' hate crime charges Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 09:38 Rating: 5

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