Bay Area pair filmed painting over Black Lives Matter sign are charged with hate crime

Crews begin to erase an All Black Lives Matter sign painted on Hollywood Boulevard.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

A man and a woman shown on video while one defaced a Black Lives Matter sign on the Fourth of July in Contra Costa County were charged with a hate crime Tuesday, authorities said.

Nichole Anderson, 42, and David Nelson, 53, both of Martinez, also face counts of vandalism and possession of tools to commit vandalism, the Contra Costa County district attorney’s office said.

District attorney’s spokesman Scott Alonso said Anderson was the woman in a viral video posted on Twitter that showed a person using a large roller to spread black paint on the yellow sign and saying, “This isn’t happening in my town.” Alonso identified Nelson as the person recording the incident with a cellphone who can be heard saying, “There is no oppression, there is no racism. It’s a leftist lie.”

A message seeking comment left on a phone number listed for Anderson and Nelson was not immediately answered.

The temporary Black Lives Matter sign had the approval of the city and was painted earlier Saturday in front of the courthouse in downtown Martinez, prosecutors said.


In another incident, Martinez police on Sunday arrested Joseph Osuna, 30, of Martinez on suspicion of pointing a gun at a Black Lives Matter supporter who police say was trying to write down Osuna’s license plate number after he yelled “All lives matter” in front of the sign, KNTV reported.

“We must address the root and byproduct of systemic racism in our country,” Dist. Atty. Diana Becton said. “The mural completed last weekend was a peaceful and powerful way to communicate the importance of Black lives.”

If convicted, Anderson and Nelson could face up to a year in county jail.